South West Universities Consortium

South West Universities Consortium, 21st September - 8th November 2020
Location: South West England

National Express Transport Solutions were selected by the University of Bristol and the University of Cardiff to successfully deliver Covid-compliant ground transport solutions for their international students. As a result of transfers taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic, the safety and well-being of the students were of the utmost importance and extra measures were put in place to significantly reduce the risk of infection.

In total 1189 international students were transferred from Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport to their respective campuses and halls of residence. Each individual transfer saw up to 66 passengers onboard each vehicle. 

Our Safety Solution

Students were required to arrive at the airport and meet our staff at their designated terminals. They were then to be guided to their airport transportation hubs within the airport. Here the students were checked in and allocated to their designated vehicles. It was a requirement that all students were to be accounted for at each stage of the journey, to ensure that they had been successfully and safely transported to begin their academic journeys.

Our Transport Solution

In order to adhere to government guidelines, all international students were supplied with an app that allowed them to book their seats onboard our vehicles prior to their flight(s). This enabled us to manage our onboard social distancing capacities and restrict capacity to 50%. Additionally, the use of a passenger app enabled us to collect contact details, flight information and total passenger numbers to share with the respective Universities.

On arrival, students were met by 'meet and greet' staff who were required to guide the students from their terminals to the transport hub in place on the airport grounds. At the transport hub, meet and greet staff would individually check in each student and account for every student present on the manifest supplied by the airline and the Universities. Once checked in, the students were then directed to the allocated vehicles that were waiting at Heathrow and Manchester airport arrivals. 

Once on board, students were taken to their transport hubs in Bristol and Cardiff where students were met by university staff and checked in. They were then transferred to their final destinations with smaller vehicles provided to transport students further to their campuses, halls of residence and other accommodations.

All passenger details were recorded for contact tracing purposes and passed on to the respective universities. All vehicles that were allocated to the contract were then disinfected with anti-viral fogging systems in line with our enhanced daily cleaning regimen. 

Throughout the duration of our transport solution, the safe and secure transport of all staff, students and drivers was our number one priority. The processes put in place enabled us to provide a Covid-19 compliant solution, reduce the risk of infection and allow international students to travel in confidence.



“I am writing to say thank you to you and your Team for the great help and support you have given us over the past two months, as we made arrangements to receive and welcome international students arriving via Manchester Airport. It has been a great pleasure working with such a professional and enthusiastic Team.

Without your hard work, students would not have had such a positive experience on their arrival, first in Manchester and then onwards to Bristol.

We look forward to working together again in the near future, as we plan for students to arrive in January.”

Arrivals Support Coordinator, South West Universities Consortium

“I worked with The Kings Ferry (part of National Express Transport Solutions) on behalf of the nine institutions across the South West and Wales to ensure that we could enable an efficient and managed response to transporting students across the UK in a welcoming and safe and secure Covid-19 environment. We were very impressed at the coordinated response Kings Ferry provided us with and their agility to respond at such short notice.”

Director of International Relations, South West Universities Consortium

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