Four of its converted buses have been deployed to support communities in Norfolk. The service is part of Project MOVE, a scheme created to support the NHS and local authorities by giving vaccines and tests via converted buses. It was made possible via a partnership between design company 40two and Oxford Bus Company.
The mobile treatment bays on buses have been made available to local authorities across the UK. Norfolk County Council commissioned four vehicles and they have gone into operation after successful use of a demonstration vehicle. Norfolk County Council is using the four vehicles to provide observed lateral flow device tests for asymptomatic people.
It will help identify the one in three people who may have the virus without any symptoms so they can avoid passing COVID-19 to family, friends and colleagues.
Each bus has the capacity to undertake up to 100 observed rapid tests a day. Observed tests are where people swab themselves under the guidance of a trained operator who then processes the test, reads the result and records it.
Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director said: “We are proud to be using Oxford buses to help communities receive the support they need.
“Norfolk County Council are the first local authority to commission the vehicles. We have five more buses available and hope others follow Norfolk’s lead and partner with Project MOVE. Norfolk County Council are using the vehicles for observed lateral flow device testing. However, our buses can also be used for other purposes if required including administering vaccines.”
The converted Oxford Bus Company Mercedes Citaro vehicles are being operated in Norfolk by Go-Ahead Group sister company Konectbus for at least six months.
Director of Public Health Norfolk, Dr Louise Smith said: “This is great news for our county and means testing is even more readily available. By identifying those who are carrying the virus without symptoms, we can help break the chain of transmission. Testing is one of the key ways to help us return to normality so it is imperative that people take regular tests, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated.”
David Brown of Project Move said: “We’ve been humbled by the positive support we’ve received from Oxford Bus Company and Norfolk County Council. It is great to see the vehicles on the road so they can begin delivering services directly to the public. It’s been a pleasure working together and we’re already looking forward to the next project.”