Bus and tuk fares further up after fuel price hike
10 months ago
Committee to formulate fuel pricing mechanism
BY Buddhika SamaraweeraFollowing the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) increasing fuel prices at similar rates, with effect from yesterday (24), the fares of private buses and Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses have been increased by 19.5%, with effect from midnight yesterday (24), while three-wheeler fares have also been hiked.The National Transport Commission (NTC) stated that it had given approval to increase bus fares by 19%, taking into account the latest fuel price hike. Accordingly, the minimum bus fare, which was Rs. 27, has been increased to Rs. 32.However, when contacted by The Morning yesterday, prior to the NTC’s announcement, Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said that the bus fares would have to be increased by 25-30%. Accordingly, the minimum bus fare, which was Rs. 27, would have to be increased to around Rs. 35, he said.Meanwhile, All-Ceylon Three-Wheeler Drivers’ Union (ACTWDU) President Lalith Dharmasekera stated that with the sharp rise in fuel prices, three-wheeler fares will inevitably have to be increased. Accordingly, he said that it has been decided to increase the fare for three-wheelers from Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 for the first kilometre (km), and from Rs. 60 to Rs. 80 for each subsequent kilometre.“As fuel prices continue to rise in this manner, it is difficult for us, as a union, to revise fares. So we have abandoned the determination of three-wheeler fares, but a number of parties have asked us to determine the average fares to be charged relative to the increase in fuel prices. That is why these fares were decided on, but in the current situation, these fees are not enough,” he said.The CPC announced early morning yesterday that it had decided to increase the price of Octane-92 petrol by Rs. 82 per litre, Octane-95 petrol by Rs. 77 per litre, Auto Diesel by Rs. 111 per litre and Super Diesel by Rs. 116 per litre. Accordingly, the price of a litre of Octane-92 petrol, which was Rs. 338, has been increased to Rs. 420, Octane-95 petrol, which was Rs. 373, increased to Rs. 450, Auto Diesel, which was Rs. 289, increased to Rs. 400, and Super Diesel, which was Rs. 329, increased to Rs. 445.Following the CPC’s increase of fuel prices, the LIOC also announced that it would increase fuel prices by the rates at which they were increased by the CPC.Meanwhile, Cabinet of Ministers approval has been granted to appoint a committee headed by the Ministry of Power and Energy, and comprising representatives from other relevant agencies, to make necessary recommendations for the formulation of a fuel pricing mechanism that will enable the determination of petroleum prices on a monthly basis, based on six key components.“The need has been identified for the implementation of a transparent, scientific, methodological mechanism for determining the domestic selling prices of petroleum products. Such a mechanism will have a positive impact on building consumer confidence as well as addressing the financial difficulties faced by the CPC,” the Department of Government Information stated.In the face of the current economic crisis caused by the prevailing foreign exchange deficit in the country, fuel prices have been raised on a number of occasions recently, including last month. The increase in fuel prices to unprecedented levels has had a direct impact on the rise in prices of other goods and services. In addition, there is a shortage of fuel in the country due to the lack of foreign exchange required for fuel imports and there is strong public opposition to all these issues.