Rail transport providers worldwide have seen a dramatic decline in passenger numbers since the COVID-19 outbreak at the end of 2019. As the virus disrupted lives everywhere, transport operators suffered far-reaching financial impacts. Months later, in the middle of 2020, commuters began emerging from lockdowns, resuming daily life and returning to work. In order to get the global economy and local communities moving again, it is essential that passengers feel safe and protected from coronavirus when taking the train.
At Bombardier Transportation, nothing is more important than safety. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this world-spanning crisis. As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely, we are taking decisive action to protect our employees, customers, partners and their families against the global pandemic.
Restoring trust in rail mobility is essential to stimulating economic growth again, while protecting the environment. Passengers must feel safe returning to public transport in order to avoid switching to other transport modes that are less eco-friendly.
That’s why we are providing new and extended solutions that reduce opportunities for the virus to spread, while maintaining the reliability and availability of our trains.
Protecting and mitigating the effects of the pandemic on our employees and their families around the world is our top priority. This ensures that we can return to work safely and maintain our commitments to our customers while delivering safe, responsible and continuous passenger service. Immediately following the COVID-19 outbreak, we assembled a global COVID-19 Corporate Task Force to closely monitor the development of the virus, and to asses and mitigate the effect on our operations. We communicate regularly with our employees, suppliers and customers on ways to best meet this global challenge together.
Our site in Bruges opened again after a closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Laurent Bouyer, Bombardier Transportation’s President of France and Benelux, visited the worksite to see the new protective work conditions and greet employees on their first day back at work. The site is slowly resuming work operations and is providing training sessions to ensure the employees understand the new protection measures put in place for their safety.
After being thoroughly disinfected and rearranged for social distancing and safety, our Crespin site in France welcomed back around 60 employees. Staff also attended compulsory training sessions to ensure that they all fully understood the measures put in place for their protection, such as compulsory mask wearing. We then followed up with Q&A sessions between participants and trainers and the feedback enabled us to identify further improvements.
Our Trápaga factory in Pais Vasco resumed its operations after several days of closure. Before resuming operations, additional hygiene and safety measures were carefully implemented to ensure the overall safety of our employees.
Our manufacturing sites in Savli and Maneja near Vadodara also resumed operations following the relaxation of the government’s COVID-19 guidelines for industries. With the right measures in place, our valued employees can now resume building and delivering rail solutions for local customers and overseas exports.
Our Thunder Bay team is back to work with enhanced safety, sanitation, and hygiene measures that keep our employees, our business and our community thriving.
At the start of the outbreak we introduced a range of measures to keep our German sites open while maintaining employee health and ensuring the ability to continue their vital work. Early on we set up pandemic planning and bi-weekly updates for all sites, immediate isolation for people showing symptoms, intensified cleaning, and instituted a 1.5 metre social distancing policy in offices, as well as on shop floors. In addition, we rearranged shifts to reduce contact between employees, and provided a COVID-19 questionnaire to employees to ensure they know how to handle customer acceptance tests, suppliers, visitors, and site leadership. We also introduced an effective work from home policy.
Our Bombardier Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd. (BST) joint venture’s Sifang projects have resumed assembly of the Fuxinghao New Chinese Standard high-speed trains returning to normal production of one car per day.
Decisive action taken by our leadership, and the great cooperation from our workforce in China, ensured that none of our more-than 8,000 employees got in contact with the virus. In addition, this enabled all eight Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprises and offices, as well as, seven Chinese joint venture sites to swiftly resume full work and production.
Leadership took action to safeguard its employees by providing Personal Protection Equipment like masks, protective clothing and goggles to every site across the country.
New work practices and COVID-19 measures were put in place after a short production break. These included social distancing at production sites, temperature checks prior to arrival, restricting team sizes, and redoubling disinfection efforts. The site re-started on March 30 with 100 employees. On April 1, customers visiting the site were impressed with the positive results of our quick actions there.
Even as a global organization, we always act locally to grow roots and give back to the communities where we operate. In times of crisis, our commitment to people is stronger than ever. As a company, but also as individuals, we are sharing information and donating time and resources in an effort to mitigate the virus’ impact on local and regional communities.
Here are some of the extraordinary things our employees have done to support local communities around the globe:
We have a total of 40 sites in North America and 3,300 dedicated employees providing essential services to the toughest hit neighbourhoods. Our main goal is to continue providing reliable train service during this difficult time so cities and communities can get back to work and make essential trips. For example, Metrolinx is serving the Greater Toronto Area and JFK AirTrain and PI is serving JFK, Queens NY and NYCT. With 740 train starts per day, 11 commuter/light rail O&M sites and 2,000 assets, we’re well prepared to keep these North American cities moving.
Our Prototype Centre in St-Bruno designed, built and delivered 40,000 medical visors for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in Quebec. This is the kind of action and innovation at the heart of the Bombardier DNA.
Initially, the Centre d’urgence St-Laurent requested our help in developing this much needed Personal Protective Equipment for clinical staff. Swinging into action, we created a small team to develop a prototype, and afterwards our Prototype Centre was transformed into a visor production facility, leveraging the supply chains of Bombardier Aviation and BRP. Proof of our ability to adapt and deliver, the Government of Quebec ordered 40,000 more of these made-in-Quebec safety visors.
Our Thunder Bay plant is assisting O-Two Medical Technologies in manufacturing 18,000 units of e700 portable ventilators. Since the announcement in April, we completed setting up a clean room for the eight-station production line and started with the assembly for the ventilators since May 31.
Our site in Cluj donated to the Cluj Red Cross and the Beard Brothers, who are ensuring doctors and medical staff in Cluj have the vital equipment required to save lives and fight COVID-19.
Our Belgium team donated masks to three institutions in Bruges including Lourdes Hospital, who gave us protective equipment and helped us with CPR training during COVID-19, and CAW, a general care centre, who supported the local community, for example, by transporting elderly to and from medical facilities. We also donated masks to OCMW Bruge, the City of Bruges’s department for general well-being. They coordinated and distributed the masks for essential workers throughout the city, while also providing them to hospitals, nursing units and assisted living facilities.
Our employees initiated a voluntary program to each donate one day of their annual leave to support the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund). Its aim is to fight and contain the current outbreak while preparing for similar pandemics in the future. Participation was optional for all employees.
Volunteer teams, created by employees from our joint venture, the Shentong Bombardier Shanghai Rail Transit Vehicle Maintenance Company, took up the fight by cleaning and disinfecting Shanghai metro trains overnight.
Bombardier Services teams, together with colleagues from Toronto’s GO TRANSIT worked together to disinfect passenger areas on the Union Pearson Express train in Ontario.
Our colleagues in Canada took extra precautions while cleaning trains, to help protect passengers, staff and themselves from the spreading the virus.
14 Apr 2020 Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have tried to follow three important principles: to protect all our employees from COVID-19, to support the government's efforts to tackle the virus and ensure sustainable business continuity.
As a result, we paused our operations at our Derby, Crewe and Ilford sites to introduce new COVID-19 measures to provide a safer and more sustainable work environment.
This week we're re-starting our operations at these UK sites. Watch Matt Byrne, our UK & Ireland President, explain how we're protecting our people from COVID-19.
Explore our social media channels to keep up with our latest news on COVID-19.
1 Apr 2020 Gina Trombley, our VP of Services for the Americas, shares a video message recognizing the 3,000 Bombardier operations and maintenance #services employees and all transit workers across the U.S. and Canada who are keeping the region moving during the #coronavirus pandemic.