Seychelles opens doors to omnibus operators for private shuttle services
On average SPTC transports 50,000 passengers per day. (Seychelles Nation)
More commuting options will soon be available to people in Seychelles following the government's approval of the creation of an omnibus policy that allows the private sector to enter the public transport industry.
In a press conference held on Thursday, the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques, explained that this decision is in line with the government's plan to liberalise this sector.
For over 40 years, the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) has been the only public transportation service provider in Seychelles, operating on the islands of Mahe and Praslin. On average, SPTC transports 50,000 passengers per day.
"Following public consultations, it was outlined that the public would like an additional service that will run alongside SPTC services. The public also wants more comfort and service that has higher standards. We want Seychellois to have more choices when it comes to transportation and to bring more excellence in the service," said Derjacques.
He added that currently there are already omnibus operators providing private bus shuttle services, especially in the north of Mahe, and having such a policy in place will formalise and make this practice legal.
The principal secretary for Land Transport, Patrick Andre, explained that there is a need for an independent entity to operate, monitor, manage and enforce any regulations that are set up to allow omnibus operators to serve the public.
"SPTC currently has a decree under which it operates and this will be removed and replaced by a new regulation that will cover the new means of public transportation. It is this entity that will determine all the aspects that there will be. We will be launching an expression of interest with omnibus operators so that those who are interested to participate in this sector can come forth," said Andre.
The minister outlined that by allowing omnibus operators to provide public services, the government is expecting fewer individuals to use their private vehicles thus reducing traffic jams.
"Together with other things that the ministry is implementing, such as multi-story car parks, we want to transform the way Seychellois commute. This will have a direct impact on the way we live, how businesses operate and how we spend our commuting time. It is not fair for a person who lives in the south of Mahe to lose 3 hours per day just to commute to and from work," said Derjacques.
It was outlined during the press conference that services offered by SPTC will remain unchanged. The government does not foresee an increase in the subsidy it provides to the company.
"It might reduce the resources on which SPTC is spending money. The company might need fewer workers as some will be attracted to working in the private sector. We foresee the company becoming more efficient and slimmed down, and as such not requiring as much taxpayers' money to operate," said Derjacques.