12 May 2020
SMRT Corporation, Singapore-based engineering firm HOPE Technik, and Sheares Healthcare, with the support of Temasek Foundation, have joined hands to retrofit existing SMRT buses into special vehicles for COVID-19-related operations.The joint effort is part of Temasek Foundation’s Stay Prepared initiative and supports the nation’s SGUnited community efforts by leveraging each other’s strengths in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
These vehicles, called COVID-19 Multi-Passenger Enhanced Transporter (COMET MAXI), will help facilitate the mass transfer of passengers between facilities, including hospitals, dormitories and various community facilities. Engineered for the safety of all on board, the COMET MAXI has the driver and the passengers located in two compartments separated by a completely sealed divider. Each compartment has its own independent air-conditioning system, which allows air circulation within both cabins to be separated. The passengers’ compartment is equipped with a Negative Pressure System with a HEPA filter which will help ensure that only clean air is filtered out from the passengers’ compartment.
The COMET MAXIs, which can take more than 30 passengers in the passengers’ compartment, have been deployed since 6 May. The driver’s compartment has two additional seats for accompanying paramedics, if they are needed.
TRIGEN Automotive, the special function vehicle division of HOPE Technik, designed and engineered COMET MAXI’s features. HOPE Technik is a home-grown engineering firm with expertise in mechanical, electrical & electronics, and software engineering since 2006. SMRT subsidiary STRIDES Transportation, a leading provider of limousine services and premium bus services in Singapore, oversees the operations, driver training and maintenance of the COMET MAXI fleet. Sheares Healthcare, which invests in and provides healthcare delivery services in Asia, owns the fleet of COMET MAXIs and will work with the Ministry of Health to complement its patient transport services.
Prior to deployment, COMET MAXI drivers need to undergo 20 hours of training conducted by SMRT, including familiarisation with operating the vehicles’ safety features such as the Negative Pressure System. To further protect the drivers, they will also have to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while on duty.
Mr Seah Moon Ming, Chairman, SMRT Corporation, said: “We stand united and do our part during the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of Temasek Foundation’s “Stay Prepared” initiative, SMRT has worked with Sheares Healthcare and HOPE Technik to design and produce COMET MAXIs to transport passengers. We are glad to support this meaningful initiative by leveraging our operational and technical capabilities in public transport.”
Mr Peter Ho, Co-founder and CEO of HOPE Technik, said: “HOPE Technik is honoured to be a part of the fight against COVID-19 to ensure that both driver and passengers are safe during transit. It is energising to work together with the teams from different organisations as we all come together to fight one single mission. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against the pandemic!””
Mr TK Udairam, Group Chief Operating Officer, Sheares Healthcare Management, said: “Sheares Healthcare is glad to work with our partners to develop and operate a safe system for transporting passengers. It’s our small contribution towards the national effort to contain the spread of the virus. A member of SG United!”