Transport plans for key workers during coronavirus outbreak

03 April 2020

3 April 2020

Alongside offering their production services to manufacture medical equipment, carmakers and service providers are also granting access to their fleets for key workers and those who require essential travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As health services and charities do their best to help both the infected and the vulnerable, the need for reliable and rugged transport is more important than ever. Alongside this, many are donating to charities or creating new opportunities to help improve mental health and fight the varying effects of the outbreak.

Delivery response

Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) has deployed more than 160 vehicles globally to support emergency response organisations during the coronavirus crisis.

A total of 57 vehicles, including 27 new Defenders, have been issued to the British Red Cross. They will help deliver medicine and food to vulnerable people across the UK who now need additional support due to social-distancing rules.

Jaguar and Land Rover teams in Spain, France, South Africa and Australia have also loaned vehicles to their national Red Cross societies, and more markets are offering help to their local teams. This service is being provided with fleets of vehicles now available due to the postponement of launch events.

′Our partnership with the Red Cross goes back 65 years, and we will work hand in hand with them to do all we can during this global health emergency,’ comments Finbar McFall, JLR customer experience director. ′We will also provide help to those closer to home in our local communities. We can all play a part in helping the vulnerable during this global pandemic.’

Electric offer

MG Motor UK is supplying up to 100 fully-electric MG ZS EVs to NHS agencies across the UK for use by ′our NHS heroes.’

The cars will be supplied via MG’s nationwide dealer network for up to six months, completely free-of-charge, to support the national effort to overcome COVID-19.

By providing additional transportation capacity with low running costs to the NHS, MG and its dealers are doing their bit to support the national effort in these unprecedented times. The first six cars have already been supplied to the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust by MG dealer Chorley Group.

Fleet services

Meanwhile, UK shared-transport provider Transport 2 has penned an open letter to offer its fleet, in an effort to reduce pressure on public networks such as the London Underground.

′In Britain today, we have a fleet of many thousands of vehicles sitting idle while people are putting themselves at risk using overcrowded London underground, bus and rail services. These vehicles are designed to transport 1-100 people and can do so while implementing the necessary social-distancing policies,’ the group said.

′We estimate that within 48 hours, we can mobilise vehicles and drivers to provide 80-100,000 concurrent key worker journeys in an entirely safe manner, reducing the possibility of the spread of the virus and protecting the NHS in the process.’

With more NHS staff coming into London, especially with the new 4,000-bed hospital set up in the city’s ExCeL exhibition centre, the company, together with other service providers, believes its offer to help will become increasingly necessary in the coming weeks.

Shuttle service

In Thailand, Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) has announced its intention to provide 10 connected and sanitised shuttles free-of-charge to certain hospitals that are treating COVID-19 cases.

These shuttles will be equipped with software that allows commuters to book seats on routes that are dynamically generated to ensure that the most effective route is planned. They will also be adapted for sanitisation with products and services including air purification devices, seat covers that can be periodically changed, and frequent cleansing services. Social distancing guidelines for passenger numbers will also be followed.

′TMF aims to provide the best possible mobility solution that allows healthcare workers to have a safe, convenient and free commute which also allows peace of mind at this uncertain time,’ says Pras Ganesh, TMF programme director for the Asia Region.

Charity at home

The Ford Motor Company Fund announced two new opportunities for its employees around the world who are eager to give back while honouring stay-at-home recommendations.

The COVID-19 Donation Match programme is a combined effort between Ford Fund and Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford that will match $500,000 (€464,000) in donations to designated community organisations in the fight against COVID-19, raising a potential $1 million for groups battling the pandemic across the globe. In Europe, funds are being raised to support a wide range of organisations in Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

Ford Fund is also launching a new ′Read and Record’ virtual volunteering project to create an online library of Ford employees reading children’s books for the 1.3 billion children and youth affected by school closures globally.

′During trying times, Ford employees are used to being the boots on the ground – getting out, signing up and pitching in to help make a difference,’ said Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. ′Even now, while many are sheltering in place at home, our employees are looking for ways to help. These two new programmes offer meaningful ways for employees to give back and join in the fight against COVID-19.’