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Bus plans, timetables to be revised for inter-provincial travel

By Buddhika Samaraweera

The State Ministry of Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry has said that plans and timetables for inter-provincial buses will have to be revised, as they will have to start operating from 1 November, under the “new normal” situation.

Speaking to The Morning, State Ministry of Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry Secretary L.K. de Alwis said that the necessary instructions have been given to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) to prepare a suitable plan for inter-provincial bus services from 1 November, in accordance with Covid-19-related health guidelines.

“Buses will not be able to run as they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, new plans and timetables need to be prepared for that. Accordingly, State Minister of Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry Dilum Amunugama has instructed the relevant officials of the SLTB to work on the matter,” he added.

Alwis further added that it would take at least a month to prepare such a plan, noting that within that time, certain areas to be improved would be identified.

“We will have to operate buses in an ad hoc manner for about one month. However, we have instructed the SLTB to deploy more buses if there are a large number of passengers in a certain area,” Alwis said.

Meanwhile, when inquired about the plans to operate buses from 1 November, Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne told The Morning that no such special plan has been prepared.

“No special plan has been drawn up. We have received instructions to transport passengers according to the seating capacity,” he said.