Chilean Sonda wins contract to renovate bus transportation system technology in Mexico City

Metrobús, Mexico City’s bus rapid transit system, will have a new operator to manage the network’s fleet from 2023. This is Sonda, the company of Chilean origin which has won a 40 million dollar contract to promote the technological leap of the system, which mobilizes 1.7 million daily passengers on the seven lines that cover 174.6 km of the capital.
Specifically, the technology company linked to businessman Andrés Navarro is to build a new operational control center (OCC) and data center in March next year, which will serve as a support to manage the operating plans of the concessionaires.
Then, gradually until June, they will be integrated -to the 823 buses and 258 stations- technological devices such as control cameras for users and drivers; a fleet positioning integration system; online passenger counter; telemetry to make rounding frequency more efficient; and electronic signs to alert travel times.
“These tools will enable finer control of public passenger transport and enable benefits such as reduced waiting times for users, because they will be able to count on real-time information on the arrival of buses at bus stops,” he explained to Sonda’s managing director of smart cities and mobility, Marcelo Castiglione.
The company’s contract with the state government lasts until 2030 and plans to invest US$6 million in the first 12 months, just to install the infrastructure.
In Castiglione’s eyes, this is Sonda’s first big deal in the country as it will allow him to generate economies of scale to expand into other projects. “This tender allows us to reach an operational size to operate other services, both public and private,” he said.
And it is precisely the fleet supply contract that combines all the services to which Sonda is dedicated, among which artificial intelligence and the study of technological infrastructure stand out.
According to the executive, The approximate annual turnover of this business will be US$6 million, once it is fully operational. Similarly, the transportation unit contributed approximately US$75 million to consolidated revenue at the end of 2021. According to Sonda’s latest report, in the 12 months of last year, it raised 1,062 .2 million, of which 44.7 million related to Mexico.

Reactivation of tenders

In 2020, the company was restructured internally and new business verticals were created. One of them was Smart Cities and Mobility Management, a unit that manages all of the company’s transportation, lighting, and security activities. However, since 2007 it has contracts for the supply of fleet management technologies, in countries such as Chile, Brazil, Guatemala and Panama.
Castiglione explained that the pandemic has hit transport systems in Latin America “hard”, prompting a wave of tenders in the region that Sonda is seeking to participate in.
“In most countries, there are private operators who charge a subsidy to the state, but the health emergency has caused demand to drop. For two years there was no investment in public transport, but today countries are looking to integrate electronic payment and demand monitoring, adapt the fleet to demand and better target subsidies,” he said.
In this context, Sonda evaluates competitions in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

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