Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) has said it is bringing in a new
batch of 16 diesel engine mechanics from India as the company also
enhances its localisation programme for bus maintenance.
director of SPTC, Mr Daniel Gappy, said that SPTC had over the past two
years pursued a localisation programme to encourage its staff to take up
training in bus maintenance.
In line with the
programme, SPTC has also awarded contracts to two local contractors to
maintain its TATA buses.
SPTC's TATA buses
were since 1993 being maintained by Indian-based Techno International
Services (TIS), a division of Unitech Automobiles Pty Ltd authorised by
TATA for the maintenance and services of its products. TIS' contract
expired last month and according to Mr Gappy, the company felt that it
would be more cost-effective to get its own staff to take over the
operation, but currently he said, SPTC had very few mechanics
specialised in diesel engine. The company will, by July 15, employ a new
batch of specialised mechanics from India on a two-year contract, with
the aim of providing more training to its staff.
Mr Gappy said the
localisation programme was being done in different phases and this
included the gradual reduction in the number of buses TIS was
maintaining as well as a subsequent reduction in their workforce, which
initially stood at just over 30 technicians. By last year TIS was
maintaining 70 buses out of a fleet of 185. The rest of the buses were
being maintained by the local contractors and SPTC mechanics.
As SPTC began the
full implementation of its localisation programme for the maintenance of
the TATA buses, Mr Gappy said he expected the services to continue
smoothly with no disruption.
In line with its
plan to train more staff to look after its TATA buses, the company has
forged ties with the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) whereby every
semester trainee technicians are being sent on attachment at SPTC. Mr
Gappy mentioned that once they successfully completed their two-year
course, the trainees could be absorbed by the company. SPTC currently
has 56 technical staff working in various sectors.
communiqué from TIS has said the company was satisfied with its
operation here for the past nine years and with the important role it
had played in SPTC's localisation
Noting that SPTC
staff was now ready to take over the operation, the communiqué stated
that "TIS has played a very important role in the localisation
programme of SPTC by imparting training to the staff of the local
contractors, introducing various systems and sharing various repair
During its nine-year
operation here, TIS said it had been able to consistently ensure a near
100% on road fleet utilisation of the buses and helped save foreign
exchange by introducing innovative methods such as modifying and
rendering serviceable existing stock of parts available at SPTC.
Mr Gappy said from
what the company had observed, the local contractors were also operating
at the same standard as TIS. He expressed
confidence that the technical experience and methods imparted
would be put to good use as SPTC trained its new breed of specialised