National Express Accessible Transport plays its part in vaccination programme

With the continued roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, National Express Accessible Transport (NEAT) is playing its part by taking vulnerable customers to get their vaccinations.

NEAT operates the Ring and Ride service on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM). With many customers staying at home and the number of trips reduced, NEAT is making dedicated vehicles available to take vulnerable customers to their Covid vaccination appointments.

Vinay Parmar, Managing Director at National Express Accessible Transport, said: “The NHS are doing such a fantastic job giving out vaccinations and we want to do all that we can to play our part in the fight against Covid.

“We’re always looking at the different ways we can provide support in our communities and I’m proud that we’re able to help those who rely on us to get to their vaccination appointments.

“Our drivers have completed over 150 vaccination trips already, with many more booked in the coming weeks. And with our strict Covid measures and dedicated vehicles in place, our customers can travel in confidence that we’ll get them there and back safely.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know that some vulnerable and elderly people are struggling to get to their vaccination appointments, so working with National Express Accessible Transport we have repurposed a number of Ring and Ride services to help address this problem.

“We know just how important getting people vaccinated is to bringing the misery of the last year to an end, which is why we announced earlier this year that we have lifted the 9:30am concessionary travel pass restrictions on buses and trams, meaning anyone who needs to use public transport to get to a vaccination appointment pre-9:30am now has several options to do so.

“Throughout the pandemic we have also been using the Ring and Ride minibuses to help get frontline NHS staff into work, and we will continue to do all we can to support the NHS in their efforts to drive this awful virus out of our region.”

NEAT driver Mark Hayward from Wednesbury depot was singled out for praise by a customer when he went out of his way during her vaccination appointment. As there was no one to help her with her wheelchair at the surgery, Mark remained on site to make sure she was okay and received all the support she needed during the appointment.

Mark explained: “I was very happy to be asked to complete trips for our customers getting their vaccinations. These are absolutely essential in helping with the fight against Covid.

“I’m proud of everything we are doing to help our communities, especially supporting those that don’t have anyone else to assist them.”

In April 2020 NEAT and TfWM worked together to repurpose some of the fleet to provide a free shuttle service for frontline workers at NHS hospitals across the West Midlands. The shuttle service continues to support NHS staff commuting from rail, bus and Metro stations and has been used over 30,000 times since launch.

In October 2020 NEAT also provided a minibus and a driver for Go West PCN in Coventry to transport nurses administering flu vaccinations to vulnerable people at home.

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