A London transport company has ridden to the rescue of a group of regional colleges, providing them with ‘the world’s safest buses’ as well as enabling them to bring in more pupils.

With council cuts, reduced services and fears over safety affecting numbers, Zeelo, the safe bus-sharing company, won a tender to run three routes for the RNN Group, which owns Rotherham College, North Notts College and Dearne Valley College - enabling them to reach more students, track attendance and keep covid at bay.

Zeelo has fitted air-filtration systems, installed a wet fogging system to clean 99% of air particles and created an app to enable social distancing and contact tracing.

The company, which has bases in London, South Africa, Ireland and Italy, transports more than a million workers a year to offices belonging to the likes of Ocado, Amazon, Jaguar Land Rover, Matches Fashion, Colgate and Argos.

Sally Steadman, Director of Learner Recruitment and Marketing at the RNN Group, said:

“We have had a challenging time recently and had to close a campus this summer. But in order to ensure that families and students could still access their education easily we knew the bus provision was vital.

“Initially we just looked at one bus route, but after carrying out a research project in the summer we were able to use the bus services as a recruitment tool to get students from further afield.

“Dearne Valley College is a little bit out of the way and not on a natural bus route, so the Zeelo service has helped us put it on the map.”

Now Sally can track the buses live, using up-to-the-minute reports from Zeelo.

“Zeelo manages the process from start to finish. I can track buses at any stage to see if there are issues, plus I I know how many students are using it.

“Just as important is the ability for Zeelo to enable us not only to track and trace but to offer a service which is clean and safe. The wellbeing of our students is paramount and now we have a trusted partner who can deliver that.”

After the Government’s announcement to avoid public transport, schools have been searching for safe alternatives for students.

The service has been designed to reduce risk of the virus spreading as much as possible. Zeelo’s technology also also enables contact tracing, so if a rider informs the company they are showing symptoms of the virus, fellow passengers who may have been travelling with them in the past can be alerted. 

Co-founder and Zeelo CEO Sam Ryan said:

“This is a game-changing development and we are very excited to showcase the world’s safest transport offering during this challenging time. 

“We are delighted we could not only help RNN Group deliver a service, but give them a service which brings more students to their door.”

The measures implemented include:

  • Eco3 air purifiers installed in vehicles - high grade filters clean 99% of the air particles by reducing harmful virus particles and CO2 particles, reducing the risk of the respiratory transmission; 
  • ULV Wet Fogging System applied after each operational day, which is active against removing virus and bacteria within 5 minutes of application;
  • All services will be fully sanitised before and after each journey by trained drivers; 
  • Drivers will be equipped with PPE to reduce the risk of infection spreading and passengers will be encouraged to use face coverings;
  •  There will be a no-contact policy onboard – drivers will check riders passes without contact to riders or their phones;
  •  The number of people on vehicles will be capped so that every member of staff has 2 meters spacing around them to reduce social interaction;
  •  Hand sanitiser will be offered on all services for riders;
  •  Various service options are available – including taking people from temporary accommodation such as hotels as well as residential locations.

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