From left to right: Transport minister Antony Derjaques, SPTC chairperson Andy Moncherry and Indian High Commissioner Kartik Pande at the hand-over ceremony. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) has received the first batch of new Ashok Leyland buses to upgrade its transport system.
The first batch of buses was presented in a ceremony on Friday morning, where guests were given the chance to ride the buses from the Victoria Bus terminal to the company headquarters.
In all, a total of 59 Ashok Leyland buses, which cost $2.8 million, are expected to join the company’s fleet in the coming week, with 10 of the having already arrived in the country.
|The first batch of Ashok Leyland buses (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Another 15 34-seater buses are expected to arrive in two weeks, while after that, another 24 55-seater buses will also be delivered to Seychelles – all made possible through a credit line from the Indian government.
“India’s development partnership with Seychelles is based on a genuine desire to work together, for each other’s welfare and interest,” said the Indian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Kartik Pande, who added that the partnership has enabled both countries to swiftly and effectively respond to challenges.
The first 10 vehicles are 34-seater buses that come equipped with new fuel-efficient engines, with reduced carbon emissions, onboard cameras, and comfortable seating, among others, to give passengers a better quality of service.
The buses were especially designed and manufactured in India with regard to Seychelles’ terrain, climate and the length of bus routes, in order to make them as efficient as possible.
|A 34-seater bus (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“As SPTC expands its operations to ensure that it runs an effective and reliable service, the wear and tear on the buses keep increasing and obtaining 59 new buses eases some of the pressure,” said the chairman of the SPTC board of directors, Andy Moncherry.
The SPTC celebrated 45 years of its existence last December and Moncherry has said that the company will continue looking to improve its service and will be looking to slowly replace its ageing buses.
|The new bus at the Victoria Terminal (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Currently, SPTC has a fleet of 230 buses, serving various routes on Mahe as well as Praslin, and with the arrival of the 59 new buses, it will mean that over 30 percent of its fleet will be made up of new buses.
The company’s acting CEO, Jeffy Zialor, said that the new buses will also see a more efficient payment system for passengers, in line with the company’s plans to go cashless in the future, where people boarding buses will pay using special cards or even their smartphones.
Zialor explained that will also give more safety to their drivers, who will not need to have large amounts of cash on them.
Aside from the 59 new buses, coming into SPTC’s fleet, the company is also working to bring in 12-22 fully electric-powered buses, through the aid of the Chinese government.
The new buses are expected to serve various routes in the country and will be operational as early as February.