51 refurbished buses, vans help ferry possible Covid-19 patients safely

The fleet comprises "maxi" vehicles, which are 32-seater and 45-seater coaches, 23-seater "midi" vehicles and nine-seater "minis". The vehicles' interior is separated into two compartments by a sealed divider.
The fleet comprises "maxi" vehicles, which are 32-seater and 45-seater coaches, 23-seater "midi" vehicles and nine-seater "minis". The vehicles' interior is separated into two compartments by a sealed divider.PHOTO: SMRT

A fleet of buses and vans have been refurbished for use in transporting people who have been exposed to Covid-19.

Known as Comet, or Covid-19 Multi-Passenger Enhanced Transporter vehicles, they are designed to facilitate the transfer of passengers between facilities such as hospitals, dormitories as well as testing and community care facilities, while ensuring the safety of the drivers.

This was part of an initiative supported by Temasek Foundation in its fight against Covid-19, in collaboration with transport companies SMRT Corporation, SBS Transit and private transport operator Leisure Frontier, along with Singapore-based engineering firm Hope Technik and Temasek-owned firm Sheares Healthcare.

Currently, there are 51 Comet vehicles of varying sizes that are able to ferry passengers.

The fleet includes "maxi" vehicles, which are 32-seater and 45-seater coaches, that were first deployed in early May and ferried an average of 450 passengers a day.

The fleet was later expanded to incorporate refurbished 23-seater "midi" vehicles and nine-seater "minis", which are smaller in size and better able to access various pickup and drop-off points such as hospitals' accident and emergency driveways.

To ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers on board, the vehicle's interior is separated into two compartments by a sealed divider.

Both the driver's and the passengers' compartments have their own air-conditioning system to ensure that air circulation is separated, preventing the driver from coming into contact with potential Covid-19 patients.

 

The rear of the vehicle, where passengers are seated, is also equipped with a negative pressure system that has a Hepa filter to clean the air in the compartment before pushing it out. 

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2020, with the headline '51 refurbished buses, vans help ferry possible Covid-19 patients safely'. Print Edition | Subscribe