NHS staff have used free shuttle bus service 30,000 times during Covid 19 pandemic

A free shuttle bus service provided by Transport for West Midlands for workers at NHS hospitals across the region has been used almost 30,000 since being launched.

The fleet of Ring and Ride minibuses have been redeployed to help key workers at four hospitals commute from rail, bus and Metro stations to work since the start of April.

The service, operated by National Express Accessible Transport under contract from TfWM, is targeted at hospitals where there were gaps in existing public transport services.

Ring and Ride driver Paul Matthews said he was delighted to be asked to support the NHS during lockdown.

He carries at least 100 NHS staff per week between Wolverhampton rail and bus station to New Cross Hospital. He said:

“We’re here to help the NHS staff get home safely after their long shifts. 

“We get doctors and nurses, student nurses, porters, cleaners and voluntary staff, anyone who works at the hospital. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

As well as New Cross Hospital, the service has been running at Russells Hall Hospital, Walsall Manor Hospital and Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield.

Demand for Ring and Ride services has declined during the pandemic with many of its vulnerable passengers either shielding or reducing their trips out, so TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, made minibuses available to the NHS.

The Ring and Ride service has also provided a minibus and driver to the Go West PCN in Coventry to transport nurses administering flu vaccinations to vulnerable people at home. Paul Jennings, Birmingham and Solihull NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnership leader, added:

“We’re so pleased that over 25,000 local NHS and care staff have continued to be able to rely on the shuttle bus service, so they can get to work and provide the best possible care and support to local people.

“We would like to thank the bus drivers who have dedicated their time to help provide the service which has allowed our incredible workforce to get to work safely since the earlier stages of this pandemic.”



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