Operators reconfigure buses to help during COVID-19 crisis

Two operators are thinking outside the box about how to use motorcoaches as a tool to address the COVID-19 crisis.

In California, Storer Coachways launched BusTest Express, which uses its 45-foot motorcoaches as mobile COVID-19 testing facilities. On the East Coast, Boston-based Yankee Line has unveiled a fleet of ADA-accessible, clean coaches that have been temporarily reconfigured into Mobile Vaccination Units.

Both companies see their mobile solutions as a way to bolster community health efforts related to the pandemic.

Access to COVID-19 testing

Donald Storer, the President of BusTest Express, is betting on his new business model to revolutionize the health care industry’s response to the pandemic by providing people easy access to testing. 

“These buses are designed for mobility, and can go wherever they’re needed to dramatically increase health care capacity in both urban centers and rural areas, along with underserved and hard-to-reach populations,” he said in a statement. 

BusTest Express is currently operating one of its buses in conjunction with the Fresno County Department of Public Health. The operation is able to test more than 500 people every day, reports the Modesto Bee

Staff, patients separate

The converted charter buses are set up to keep the medical staff separated from the individuals getting tested. Patients approach a window kiosk on the bus and receive a self-swab PCR test, which they return to staff once completed. 

Storer Coachways launched BusTest Express, which uses motorcoaches as mobile COVID-19 testing facilities.

Storer’s daughter, Sarah, the Vice President of Storer Coachways, said the buses have been deployed statewide, serving hundreds of patients daily.

“Be truly mobile, provide health care services to the communities and the rural areas and the regions that need them the most,” she told KCRA of their motivation to launch BusTest Express. 

She and her dad came up with the idea as a way to save lives and the jobs of their 400 drivers. Now, they hope to bring patent-pending mobile testing and vaccination units to a wider marketplace. 

Mobile vaccines

Yankee Line released a video of 70 retrofitted coaches turned Mobile Vaccination Units, which are each equipped with six vaccination stations, including freezer units for the vaccines. Both the Pfizer/BiotNTech and Moderna vaccines need to be stored at -70 degrees.

Michael Costa, General Manager of Yankee Line, said the company is waiting for the green light from officials to provide the service across Massachusetts and the Northeast. 

“We’re not currently being utilized for anything right now. We’re kind of sitting in the wings waiting to help out with this moment,” Costa told MassLive, adding the company has been in talks with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since July on how they could facilitate mobile vaccination centers.


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