SPTC receives first batch of 10 new buses out of 59 By Vidya Gappy |21 January 2023
The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) received 10 new buses yesterday procured under the Indian Line of Credit support.
The buses are from the Ashok Leyland Company.
The next batch of 15 will be arriving within the next two weeks and the rest of the buses are set to arrive over the course of the first quarter of 2023.
The 59 buses are valued at US $2.84 million.
The Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques, shared that this project is a unique project that saw the coordination of three ministries in Seychelles with the government of India.
“Starting with bilateral talks by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the government of India, to coordinating the line of credit by the Ministry of Finance with EXIM Bank of India, and finally, to selecting the bus specifications with Ashok Leyland by the SPTC technical team and coordinating the successful delivery of the buses, it has been a long journey,” Minister Derjacques said.
The minister also declared that Seychelles is grateful to the government of India for not only providing the financial assistance but also all the teams that have worked diligently to ensure that despite facing the effects of the biggest pandemic in recent history, “we have the opportunity today to enjoy the maiden trips of these buses”.
Minister Derjacques noted that soon Seychelles will also receive new electric buses with China thus increasing the fleet of SPTC.
“We urge the commuters to use the buses responsibly and help in taking care of them.”
The Indian high commissioner, Karthik Pande, added that the buses have been manufactured and are being supplied by Ashok Leyland, a reputed Indian vehicles manufacturer, with wide presence in Africa.
“This project is part of the ongoing US $10 million Line of Credit assistance to Seychelles. Allow me to mention that authorities in Seychelles and India have worked hard for timely implementation of this project. A team from SPTC visited India in October last year to ensure that these buses adequately meet Seychelles requirements and specifications. I am accordingly delighted to see that, today, the first batch of buses is in Seychelles, and being inducted into active service. India and Seychelles historically enjoy warm, friendly and cordial ties and a vibrant development partnership,” HC Pande said.
HC Pande noted that India is proud to partner with Seychelles in reinforcing the capacity of its public transport infrastructure and promoting connectivity.
“India cherishes its warm ties with Seychelles and will always stand ready to partner it in its developmental needs,” he added.
Geffy Zialor, acting chief executive of the SPTC, shared that with this donation, it will be an opportunity to replace some of the company’s ageing buses which come both as a relief and an opportunity.
“Every day we have 190 buses on the road and we have worked on a fleet replacement plan that will ensure that the 59 new buses will be leveraged in the areas where they will be most needed. The comfort of our passengers and their safety are key components that always remain at the forefront of our operations,” Mr Zialor said.
The chairman of SPTC, Andy Moncherry, noted that SPTC with its strategic plan is working towards the reinforcement of the company.
“Much effort has been put in making the buses more comfortable,” he said.
The commuters will be able to start experiencing the first ride as from next month and they will be able to use their phone to pay for their rides.
Yesterday Minister Derjacques, HC Pande, Manu Vijayakumar (representative of Ashok Leyland), chairman Moncherry, Mr Zialor, representatives of other ministries and the media enjoyed a maiden tour in the new buses from the Victoria terminal to the Newport terminal.
Photos: Emma Ah Kong/ Joena Meme