Kilbeggan based bus converter EVM has created a suite of COVID-19 protection measures which can be retrofitted to its vehicles and added to new vehicles in build. All components will be available to customers for the end of May.
The kit includes a screen for driver protection and between each seat rows, plus a new saloon filtration system which sanitises the air as it circulates, lessening the chances of viral transmission through the blown-air system and filtering the air in the passenger’s compartment. Headrests and touch points such as grab rails etc. can have an antimicrobial film attached, and EVM can also supply infrared thermometers and PPE such as gloves and antibacterial hand-gel dispensers.
“This isn’t a money-making venture,” said Danny McGee, Managing Director of EVM. “We’re looking for ways to help get people back on to buses again, for key workers and for when lockdown ends. We think installing these measures will re-instil confidence in small group travel.”
EVM believes that any prospective lockdown exit plan for the country will involve substantial restrictions on travel and more specifically on how we travel for the foreseeable future. Social distancing is unlikely to go away in the short to medium term. Operators will have a responsibility to do all they can to ensure their vehicles are setup to minimise viral transfer within the vehicle.
The company has prototyped all the designs in CAD and is now asking for operators to share their opinions. The screens can be fitted by any competent workshop and the air filtration kit by air-con specialists, although the air conditioning system itself isn’t touched.
The air-con system uses a combination of mechanical filtration, anti-microbial coating and ultraviolet light to significantly reduce ‘aerosol’ infection – the virus being carried around the vehicle by the ventilation.
“We think that 85% of the vehicles we have supplied over the last 11 years will be suitable for this kit,” said Danny. In particular, he sees its application to DRT and community transport as important to persuade passengers back on to public transport, while it is also suitable for touring specification mini coaches. We see customers and end users wanting to know their passengers such as employees or school children are protected before they are going to hire or approve contracts when the economy is up and running again.
“Seating capacity will be reduced, of course, to maintain social distancing, so that a 19-seater will have a capacity of 11, though couples and family groups can travel together, upping the capacity to maybe 16 – 17.”
EVM has always embraced the dynamic of groups travelling in smaller numbers but believes now more than ever, that the transport of people in small groups will be critical to risk mitigation within this new environment we all now live in.