Peter Pan Bus Lines turns motorcoaches into mobile COVID testing and vaccination sites

Peter Pan Bus Lines is making motorcoaches newly outfitted with refrigeration equipment available as mobile COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites in a program called Peter Pan Cares. The mobile units are meant to solve the problem of how to get the vaccine into neighborhoods or remote areas that don’t have clinics, the company said Wednesday.

Peter Pan is not providing the vaccines or health care workers. The company intends to rent the buses to health care providers. The cost varies according to how far the bus must travel and how much time is required, said Peter Pan spokeswoman Danielle Veronesi.

The buses have new on-board refrigerators to store the vaccine and Wi-Fi internet connections and power outlets so care staff can set up workstations, the Springfield-based carrier announced Wednesday. Peter Pan has and uses sanitizing and disinfecting equipment approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency.

For added protection, the vehicles have been sealed with a state-of-the-art product that kills germs, bacteria and viruses on contact. Peter Pan employees have personal protective equipment including masks.

The available buses are now in the Washington, D.C., area, Veronesi said. Peter Pan is in the process of outfitting more coaches for the Springfield area.

Peter Pan, an 87-year-old family business based in Springfield and led by Chairman Peter Picknelly, was almost totally shut down last year due to the pandemic. At the height of the public health emergency, the company ran buses only on a few state-sponsored commuter routes and to deliver meals to frontline workers as part of its Feed the Fight initiative.