Some of the Transport Board’s new electric buses. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The Transport Board’s new fleet of electric buses will be in good hands after employees from its Quality Assurance Department graduated from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology’s (SJPI) Electric Vehicle Maintenance Fundamentals introductory course on Wednesday.

Twelve technicians from the Board and the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited underwent 30 hours of training over a two-week period.

Principal of the SJPI, Ian Drakes, said the institute saw the opportunity to step up to the plate “once again” as it has often done in the past by designing and facilitating the course.  This, he said, was an example of how the SJPI was driven by the demands of industry.

“We are showing you what is possible as we have these partnerships with the Transport Board and other industries.…  Electrics are part of the landscape for the new norm and we have adjusted and we will continue to adjust as we move these technologies in the region and internationally.  This is part of the vision and foresight we have at SJPI.

… We are here with the tools to deliver the requisite training as we move towards the 2030 goal of [100 per cent] renewable energy.  We are arming ourselves, but remember, it is a partnership. My definition of a partnership is not a handshake. The private and public sector have to invest as well. There must be that type of collaborative movement,” Mr. Drakes emphasised.

Participant and Transport Board employee, Robert Carrington, said the course had equipped him and his colleagues with the knowledge and skills to better support the new fleet of electric buses.

“We did practical and theoretical training in safety and key components, which make up high voltage systems, maintenance procedures, tools and electronics…. This new technology, in addition to changing the way we do business, will also have a positive impact on our environment and will reduce our carbon footprint…. We, the employees of the Transport Board’s Quality Assurance Department, stand ready to do this.

The interior of one of the new electric buses. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

“Armed with this certification and with the partnerships that we have developed with the Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd., and our parent ministry, the Ministry of Transport Works and Maintenance, we know that we will help to lead this charge,” he stated.

Minister of Transport Works and Maintenance, Dr. William Duguid, pointed out that partnerships based on knowledge-sharing, such as the one which exists between the Transport Board and the SJPI, were paramount to the Board achieving its goals.

He suggested the Board and the SJPI could have a reciprocal arrangement where the Transport Board’s technical team could be exposed to the training being offered by the Institute.  

And, in exchange, representatives of SJPI would be invited to join the team at the Transport Board when the buses are commissioned, as a part of that knowledge sharing.

The Minister also lauded the SJPI for creating the course to assist with the maintenance of the new buses.

“SJPI showed what they could offer by quickly developing a very professional course designed for persons who will encounter electric vehicles within a routine maintenance situation. It covered the knowledge and skills required to work safely around electric vehicles, including those vehicles that may sustain damage to their electric systems.

“We are aware that this course, EV Maintenance Fundamentals, will offer an introduction to a specialized sector. It will complement current industry experience and enable persons to continue to work safely in their respective work environments,” Dr. Duguid stated.

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