News

Guidelines for post-lockdown transport soon

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

In a backdrop where there are reports that the current quarantine curfew lockdown status will be lifted next week, the Transport Ministry will formulate the necessary guidelines for the implementation of public transport services after the reopening of the country, according to the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA).

Speaking to The Morning, LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said that during a recent discussion with Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry, and Community Police Services State Minister Dilum Amunugama, the implementation of public transport services after the reopening of the country was discussed.

Accordingly, he said that during the said discussion, Rambukwella and Amunugama had informed him that the relevant guidelines with regard to the implementation of public transport services after the reopening of the country would be prepared by the Transport Ministry in the coming days.

Transport Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Transport Ministry Secretary Monti Ranatunga were not available for comment.

Taking into account the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus and the increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on 20 August, declared a lockdown status till 30 August and it was then extended till 6 September. At a meeting attended by high-level government officials on 10 September, the lockdown status was again extended till 21 September.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry recently accused the transport authorities of not having formulated a plan to operate the public transport services in accordance with the Covid-19-related health guidelines after the reopening of the country, even though it is essential to do so in order to prevent a further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General, and Disaster

Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath recently told The Morning that if the country is to be reopened, a formal plan should be formulated to operate public transport services in line with the health guidelines such as maintaining the one-metre social distance.