*Innovation in times of COVID-19
In times of COVID-19, more than ever, the health of drivers and passengers is the top priority of the public transport sector and coach companies. VDL Bus & Coach, represented in Ireland by Cronin’s of Cork, has come up with various recommendations and solutions for the Futura and Citea ranges which reduce the risk of infection during the journey. The introduction of VDL Pure Air Technology (for the Futura) and VDL Clean Air Technology (Citea and Futura) is one of the most important innovations.
“It goes without saying that the COVID-19 crisis is having a major impact on VDL Bus & Coach and the bus industry,” says Pieter Gerdingh, Business Manager Coach Range of VDL Bus & Coach. “We must adapt to this new reality. The number of journeys has fallen sharply as a result of COVID-19 and it is unclear how quickly tourism will recover. During the coronavirus crisis, we stayed in touch with our customers from the very beginning. It is clear that we, as an industry, are jointly responsible for making coach transport as safe as possible and for regaining the trust of passengers.”
Alex de Jong, Business Manager Public Transport adds: “Our customers are having to cope with fewer people using public transport. This also has consequences for tendering procedures, especially in the Netherlands. But even in these difficult times, we are continuing to invest with the aim of strengthening our position as a European frontrunner in e-mobility in our key markets.”
VDL Pure Air Technology
The COVID-19 virus spreads in different ways. Experience shows that infection is most often caused by virus particles on surfaces and aerosols in the air. In addition to the basic rules on board of the bus (disinfecting hands, wearing face coverings and keeping your distance), there is another important rule: replacing as much air as possible. By constantly changing the air, the presence of virus particles is reduced to a minimum.
In order to further reduce the possible presence of virus particles, VDL Bus & Coach is introducing VDL Pure Air Technology in the Futuras. This technology involves active ionisation of the air by means of plasma cluster ionisers. The ionised air entering the passenger compartment from the air duct has such a high ion value that not only viruses but also, for example, fine dust and bacteria are rendered harmless. The VDL Pure Air Technology modules are placed out of sight inside the vehicle’s air duct. The Pure Air system activates automatically when the vehicle is started up. This guarantees constant cleaning. The ionisation process is harmless to humans and the environment.
VDL Clean Air Technology
VDL Clean Air Technology is also available in both the Futura and the Citea. This offers the possibility to upgrade the recirculation filters of the climate system in coaches and public transport buses to an F7 grade. F7 filters trap up to 90% of particles with a size of up to 0.4 μm. This also includes the drops of moisture caused by talking or coughing. These moisture droplets can be the means of transport for smaller virus particles and are thus completely stopped by the F7 filter.
Safe travel with the VDL Citea
A number of specific solutions have been devised for the VDL Citea to ensure that the risk of infection is kept to a minimum.
Increasing the amount of fresh air in the climate system
Ventilation is one of the most important ways to reduce possible virus particles in the vehicle. In order to further reduce the risk of infection during the journey, there is the possibility to modify the operation of the climate system. This increases the proportion of fresh air to 100%. This adaptation ensures that less air is recirculated, reducing the risk of infection.
Customer-specific separation of the driver
A safe workplace is a pure necessity. In order to better protect the driver against possible infection, VDL Bus & Coach offers the possibility to mount a customer-specific partition on the driver’s door. This partition is made to measure so that important elements such as payment points remain easily accessible.
Automatic disinfection dispensers
One of the basic rules concerns hand disinfection. To better facilitate this, VDL Bus & Coach provides the possibility to install automatic disinfection dispensers at the various door positions. The dispensers are robust and prevent hand contact with the device by means of a sensor that detects if there are hands under the device. By applying disinfection spray instead of gel, the amount of disinfectant liquid that is spilled is reduced to a minimum.
Safe travel with the VDL Futura
Customers can also opt for a number of specific solutions in the VDL Futura:
Disinfection dispensers with manual operation
These manual disinfection dispensers can also be mounted at the various door positions. The dispensers are robust and prevent hand contact with the device by means of a long, elbow-operated lever that pumps out the disinfectant.
Driver and guide partition made of glass
In order to better protect the driver and guide against possible infection, VDL Bus & Coach offers the possibility to mount a glass shield on the standard partition bulkheads on both the driver’s and the guide’s side. This glass partition covers the entire area behind the driver or guide and meets current safety requirements.
Alerting passengers to the new situation and thus creating awareness about how to act is an important step towards a safe journey. To better support this, VDL Bus & Coach has developed various sticker packages that use clear symbols to draw passengers’ attention to the new rules that apply during the ride.