Bus Company Gogo Charters Repatriates 3,600 People from Princess Cruises Cruise Ship During COVID-19 Pandemic

By  //  July 11, 2020

In March 2020 COVID-19 became a global pandemic and many travelers were left stranded as a result. GOGO Charters, the largest professional charter bus service in North America, provided a significant number of charter buses in Oakland, California to provide disembarkment and repatriation services to cruise ship passengers.

In early March, soon after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, Princess Cruises discovered that a handful of passengers may have been exposed to the Coronavirus prior to the ship’s departure on its current trip.

The ship’s passengers were placed in individual quarantine until the ship received orders to dock in Oakland, California, and begin disembarking its 3,600 guests. 

Large buses were needed to move the passengers swiftly and efficiently to a safe location. But many bus companies do not have a fleet that is large enough to accommodate such large numbers, and in this instance, not much time time was available to gather the fleets of multiple companies. 

GOGO Charters responded quickly by providing charter buses to both federal and California state government agencies specifically for the purpose of transporting cruise ship passengers to designated quarantine sites.

Over a period of 2 weeks, 26 motor coaches—all dispatched by GOGO Charters—helped to disembark over 3,600 passengers from the ship. Symptomatic patients were transported by ambulance to local hospitals while asymptomatic patients were bussed to local air force bases. 

Once quarantine periods ended, multiple buses from GOGO Charters were again dispatched to multiple air force bases to transport former cruise ship passengers to their final destinations. 

But how did GOGO Charters pull this off? It all comes down to a large network of licensee companies, technology, and meticulous attention to detail from the GOGO Charters team. 

GOGO Charters works with an extensive network of partnered bus providers in North America. Thanks to modern tracking technology, GOGO Charters can view real-time bus availability and inventory within their network, allowing them to reach out to their partners and round up many buses at a moment’s notice. 

Once available buses are identified, GOGO Charters’ 24-hour in-house operations team works around the clock to make sure that buses arrive at the correct locations and at the correct times. During the Princess Cruises evacuations, the GOGO Charter’s operations team also worked with local health care organizations to ensure that drivers and passengers had proper PPE. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, GOGO Charters has also provided transportation outside of the cruise industry.

Examples of their work include transporting military personnel who have just returned from overseas to military bases and hospitals, helping to evacuate students from universities after the campuses abruptly closed and shuttling employees to and from essential job sites amidst the pandemic.  GOGO Charters hopes to make transportation swift, safe and comfortable for all travelers through the pandemic and into the future.