All set for inter-provincial buses, trains from 21st

  • Dilum ready if approval of health authorities received

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

If the health authorities’ approval is given, necessary arrangements have been made to resume inter-provincial bus and train services from 21 October, said Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry, and Community Police Services State Minister Dilum Amunugama.

Speaking to the media yesterday (13), he stated that the necessary steps have been taken to resume inter-provincial bus and train services which are currently suspended.

Meanwhile, when questioned whether the Government would take any action to provide some relief to private buses, he said that such has been already provided to private buses. “Recently, a loan of around Rs. 350,000 was given to them. In addition, the private bus owners are currently being given a relief voucher,” he added. Speaking further, Amunugama said that since private buses are very important for the public transport sector, the Government hopes to provide them with as much relief as possible in the future as well.

Meanwhile, when inquired about reports that there would be an increase in the bus fares in the coming days, Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne stated that they have not recently made a request to increase bus fares. However, he said that if fuel prices go up, bus fares will also have to be increased.
Taking into account the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the increase of the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a lockdown status on 20 August and it was lifted on 1 October.

However, Amunugama, at that time, said that despite the reopening of the country, public transport services between the provinces would not be operational as the Government has decided to maintain the inter-provincial travel restrictions for a period of another two weeks. He also said that due to the high risk of the spread of Covid-19 through the train services, the health authorities have advised not to operate the trains for two weeks.