Specially-retrofitted SMRT buses deployed for COVID-19 operations


SINGAPORE — Specially-retrofitted SMRT buses have been deployed since 6 May for COVID-19-related operations, such as transporting passengers among hospitals, dormitories and various community facilities.

In a media release on Tuesday (12 May), SMRT Corporation said that the buses, which are called COVID-19 Multi-Passenger Enhanced Transporter (COMET MAXI), can take up to 30 passengers and are 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,” it said in the media release.

“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 driver’s compartment also has two additional seats for accompanying paramedics, if they are needed. Drivers have undergone 20 hours of training conducted by SMRT, including familiarisation with operating the vehicles’ safety features such as the Negative Pressure System. They will also have to wear Personal Protective Equipment while on duty.

The vehicles were retrofitted from existing SMRT buses, in collaboration with Singapore-based engineering firm HOPE Technik. 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.

The joint effort is part of Temasek Foundation’s Stay Prepared initiative and supports the nation’s SGUnited community efforts in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

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