By John Ensor •
Published: 08 Sep 2023 • 12:14
Luton Airport bus in action.
Credit: Swindon Humanitarian Aid Parnership/Facebook.com
London Luton Airport’s distinctive buses have embarked on a unique journey, now aiding Ukraine’s military.
On the battleground in Ukraine, three bendy buses, still bearing the Luton Airport insignia, have been repurposed. These buses, dispatched in the wake of Luton Airport’s transition to a driverless shuttle system in March, are now pivotal in the country’s defence strategy, according to the Express.
The Go-Ahead Bus Company generously gifted these vehicles to the Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership (SHAP). A representative from Go-Ahead remarked, ‘These vehicles have done years of duty shuttling holidaymakers and suitcases. They’re now retired from airport duty and we’re glad they can be put to good use – as a small contribution to Ukraine’s war effort.’
Reportedly two of these buses have been revamped to include washroom and shower amenities. The third is undergoing a transformation to showcase the harrowing impact of Russia’s aggressive actions.
SHAP, originating from Wiltshire, was conceived in response to Russia’s extensive invasion, aiming to extend humanitarian support to Ukraine. Since the onset of hostilities, they’ve dispatched nearly 1,300 tonnes of aid to Ukraine’s eastern regions.
Earlier in May, SHAP ingeniously repurposed a bus, a donation from a Swindon bus enterprise, into a mobile healthcare unit. This unit is equipped with beds, stretchers, a heart monitor, and essential utilities like water and electricity.
Mike Bowden, SHAP’s Chairman and a former business attorney, had initially planned to give the buses a fresh coat of white paint and adorn them with red crosses. However, he highlighted a change in plans, ‘We have been specially asked not to repaint them so they look as close to public service buses as possible from the air and don’t stand out. This is because Russian forces are deliberately targeting hospitals and emergency workers.’
Buoyed by the positive impact of their bus initiatives, SHAP is on the lookout for more buses. They’ve also initiated fundraising drives, anticipating the need for further ‘UK donations to Ukraine‘ if new contributions aren’t immediately available.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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