South West Universities Consortium

South West Universities Consortium, 2020
Location: South West England

We provided safe and Covid compliant transport solutions for the University of Bristol and Cardiff, located within the South-West of England & South Wales regions. From the 21st of September until 8th November 2020, we transferred 1189 international students from Manchester Airport and Heathrow Airport to the University campuses/halls of residence with each individual transfer carrying between 1-66 passengers.

The challenge

To successfully deliver a ground transport solution for the University’s international students, transferring them from the Manchester and Heathrow Airports to the University campuses. Given that the transfers were to be run during the Covid-19 pandemic, the safety and wellbeing of the students were of the utmost importance, with each transfer required to minimise the risk of infection.

Students were required to arrive at the airport and meet the on-site staff at the designated terminal. The students were then to be guided to the ‘transport hub’ within the airport. Here the students needed to be checked in and allocated to the correct vehicle, to then be transported to the ‘university hub’ and on to the end destination, whether this was the University campus or halls of residence.

It was a requirement that all students were to be accounted for at each stage of the journey, to ensure that all students had been successfully and safely transported to begin their university journey.

The response

We arranged for multiple vehicles to be waiting at Manchester and Heathrow airport arrivals and organised the ‘meet and greet’ staffing that was required to guide the students from the terminal to the transport hub within the airport grounds.

At the transport hub, the staff would individually check in each student and account for every student present on the manifest that was supplied by the airline and the University. Students were provided with an app, enabling them to book their seats onboard our vehicles prior to their flight. This meant that we were able to collect passenger numbers, flight details and contact details to share with the Universities. This also allowed us to better manage our onboard social distancing capacities and restrict capacity to 50% per vehicle to adhere to Government guidelines.

Once checked in, all students were then directed to their allocated vehicles. Students were required to wear face masks on board and were temperature checked prior to boarding. They were then asked to sit in their designated seats. All passengers details were recorded for contact tracing reasons, with details being passed onto the University. All vehicles that were allocated to the solution were disinfected with anti-viral fogging systems in line with our enhanced daily cleaning regimes.

Once on-board, students were taken to the correct transport hub in Bristol where the on-site staff greeted the students and checked them in. They were then transferred to their end destinations and smaller vehicles were provided to transport students to their Universities, halls of residence or other accommodation.

Throughout the duration of the ground transport solution, the safe and secure transport of all staff, students and drivers was our priority. The process that has been put in place allows us to provide a Covid-19 compliant solution, reducing the risk of infection and allowing the 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

“I worked with The Kings Ferry Coach Hire (part of National Express Transport Solutions) on behalf of 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 The Kings Ferry Coach company provided us with and their agility to respond at such short notice.”

Director of International Relations

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