Coronavirus: Van drivers work overtime to carry out critical tasks

Van driver, Mercedes-Benz

Almost 4 in 5 members of the van community (78%), say the work they are doing is contributing to keeping members of the public safe, according to the latest Business Barometer research from Mercedes-Benz Vans UK.

The research also revealed that van drivers are putting in an extra 19.2 hours per month.

Members of the van community have been keeping the nation moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering indispensable medical supplies, groceries and essential goods to hospitals, pharmacies and to the elderly and vulnerable across the UK.

Steve Bridge, UK managing director at Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “You’d be hard pushed to find anyone that the van community hadn’t reached at some point, let alone during the pandemic. They deliver goods, enable services and transport people often behind the scenes and unnoticed, so we’re delighted that so many are now being recognised and thanked by the public for their hard work.

“It is important that we continue to support this vital sector with kindness, because without them, the country would not be running in the same way.”

The Business Barometer also found that their work to date is resulting in 82% of van drivers agreeing they feel their customers’ appreciation as 27% have had a thank you message on social media and 21% have even received an applause while out on delivery.

Fleet News has been paying tribute to the fleets and key workers in 'Frontline fleets', a series of articles providing insight into the schedules of fleet managers and directors at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis.

With an uplift in parcels as consumers turn to online shopping during the coronavirus lockdown and a shift from van sharing to one person/one van, in frontline fleets, Royal Mail’s fleet director Paul Gatti (pictured) explains how he and his team have adapted to support the operation and keep staff safe.

Despite the challenges they face, the van community remains closely-knit with half of respondents feeling a positive impact, due to the support they recieve from eachother, the research found.

As their employers move to support, more than four in ten (43%) of the van community say this is helping them adjust to what is becoming the 'new normal'.

Justin Laney, general manager – fleet at John Lewis Partnership, also reveals the impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on JLP, as he offers an insight into a typical day in the life of his fleet operation.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Graham Telfer, Gateshead Council fleet manager, has made sure vital services for his borough in Tyne and Wear are maintained, even with the odds stacked against his teams due to social distancing.

Sarah Gilding, head of joint vehicle fleet management at South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, shares how staff have responded to the Covid-19 crisis as she outlines a day in the life of her fleet operation during the April peak.

Justin Wand, director – strategic assets and property at London Ambulance Service (LAS), explains the challenges he's faced with logistics, vehicle preparation, supply and maintenance across the trust at the UK epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mercedes-Benz says that, 'rather than spending time engaging with their families and friends, van drivers have selflessly put the country first and willingly gone above and beyond the call of duty'.

Many more examples of the commercial fleet industry providing support can be found on our dedicated page.

All the articles in frontline fleets originally appeared in the May issue of Fleet News available a digital edition.

Fleet News and Commercial Fleet are asking for fleet decision-makers’ experience of handling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with a quick-fire, multiple choice survey. Your feedback will help us create a picture of how the fleet sector is adapting to the current challenges, you can take part here.

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