Bangkok, Thailand (March 31st 2020)―Under the unprecedented backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on human lives and every aspect of daily life, Governments around the world are trying to find the best approach to manage the situation, such as medical interventions, lockdowns and travel restrictions that are aimed at "flattening the curve." In the battle against the disease, healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, hospital administrative staff, including cleaning and transportation staff, are on the frontlines, putting their professionalism and expertise at the fore, to fight for the rest of our health. This is true across the globe, including in Thailand.
Respecting the contribution of these heroes, Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), an independent not for profit foundation aimed at enabling mobility for all, announced its intention to provide 10 connected and sanitized shuttles that would be made available free of cost to certain hospitals (details now under confirmation) that are treating COVID-19 cases.
These shuttles will be equipped with software that allow the commuters to book seats on routes that are dynamically generated to ensure that the most effective route is designed for the passengers requesting rides. The passengers will have certainty on the pick-up location and time to ensure that they can get to work at a designated time and transportation when they leave. The "Just-in-Time" software is designed by Singapore-based SWAT Mobility, a company that provides demand-responsive, ride-sharing solutions.
The shuttles will also be adapted for sanitization with products and services including air purification devices, seat covers that can be periodically changed, and frequent cleansing services. Social distancing guidelines for passenger numbers will also be followed.
Representing TMF, Mr. Pras Ganesh, Program Director for Asia Region, said, "The aim of TMF is to provide the best possible mobility solution which allows the healthcare workers to have a safe, convenient and free commute which also allows peace of mind at this uncertain time. Based upon the Bangkok experience, we also aim to roll this service out in some South East Asian countries. Once standardized, the operating procedure, will also be made available to anyone who would like to provide similar services."
The services will be rolled out with operational support from Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd., (TMT) and Toyota Daihatsu Engineering & Manufacturing Co., Ltd., (TDEM) and aims to start from Mid-April and operate for a period of at least three months.
About the Toyota Mobility Foundation
TMF was established in August 2014 as an independent foundation to support the development of a more mobile society. The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. It utilizes Toyota's expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, government, non-profit organizations, and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world. Programs include resolving urban transportation problems, like congestion and aims to find solutions that are greener, safer and more inclusive by working with local partners and residents to design, deliver, and scale solutions for communities across the globe. Currently TMF also runs a project with the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and Chulalongkorn University (CU) to support decongestion through the usage of data (Rama IV project).