WATCH: What happens to persons without transport means and want to take a swab test
A group of public transport bus drivers have been driving government vehicles, instead of buses, for the past two months. Malta Public Transport company is providing these drivers who, on a daily basis, are transporting persons who do not have private transport for swab tests at the Ħal Farruġ or Pembroke centres. The logistics is run by volunteers of the Malta Health Network at the basketball association’s facility at Ta’ Qali.
A Television Malta journalist on Saturday morning availed himself of this service for a test at Pembroke.
“Hello, good morning. Mr Glen Falzon? I am Joseph Magro, the driver, who will take you for a test…..you have between a quarter and half an hour more. Thank you.”
The driver arrived on site through a GPS.
The car that provided the transport is cleaned again with chemicals at the centre following every trip.
Patrick Vella, the transport centre’s coordinator said “we clean seats and tapestries has been changed so we can clean and disinfect. We clean the partition which each car has for the driver’s safety and avoid any contact between passengers and drivers. Car doors and handles are also cleaned”.
The service started in March and is available for those without transport means and need to undergo a test.
Each car carries two persons. “We normally take one person except where there are two persons living at the same residence, address and therefore live together”.
An important chain in the service are the Malta Public Transport drivers who voluntarily are transporting people for tests, instead of driving buses.
“We’ve been to Xemxija, Bidnija, Marsaxlokk and some of the localities from Ħal Tarxien and we go all around Malta.”
Driver Cortez said “We go to Mellieħa, sometime we go to Marsascala, Birżebbuġa. Anywhere in Malta.”
There are 27 drivers who carry out some 90 daily trips between them.
Joseph Magro, another driver said “I thank my wife and children who, although they were shocked when I told them I will start this service, however they then encouraged me to assist my country”.
Cortez stated “I want to help the people in Malta to finish this pandemic. Thank you very much. Welcome sir. Have a good day.”
Driver Dave Peacock said “we have these plastic screens so the company and the government has done everything to keep us safe.”
Paula Vassallo, Health Promotion and Prevention director, said “we looked for a place to avoid them being near the Ħal Farruġ testing centre and the basketball association offered this place, which was ideal for us.”
Dr Vassallo added this is another experience during which everyone is assisting for the wellbeing of the country.