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Private bus owners beset by woes

  • Cite practical issues in transporting per seat capacity, inability to repair, fines for non-operationality

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has alleged that despite the hike in bus fares, following the Government’s decision to increase fuel prices, the difficulties faced by private bus owners have not yet come to an end.

Speaking to the media yesterday (5), LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said: “Despite the increase in bus fares, there are a number of practical issues with its implementation, especially in terms of the transportation of passengers according to the seating capacity. We are also still unable to repair buses that have not been operated for a long time due to the recent closures of the country.”

He also pointed out that the Government’s decision to impose a fine on buses that did not run for a period of six months, despite travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, was another serious problem faced by private bus owners.

“It has been decided to impose a fine of Rs. 30,000 on the owners of buses that have not been running for six months. As a result of all these, bus owners are still facing many difficulties,” he said.

Meanwhile, the hiked bus fares that came with the increase in fuel prices came into effect from yesterday. Accordingly, the minimum bus fare, which was Rs. 14, has been increased to Rs. 17, while the remaining bus fares have been increased by 17.4%.

Following the Government’s decision to increase fuel prices with effect from 21 December 2021, the LPBOA late last month stated that bus fares would definitely have to be increased in line with the revised fuel prices.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media on 26 December 2021, State Minister of Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry Dilum Amunugama said: “We will allow a hike in bus fares, under the condition that it is reduced when the fuel prices go down and the restrictions on the passenger capacity are lifted. We are doing this reluctantly.”

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) announced that fuel prices have been increased with effect from 21 December 2021. Accordingly, the price of a litre of 92 Octane petrol has been increased by Rs. 20 to Rs. 177, while the price of 95 Octane petrol has been increased by Rs. 23 to Rs. 207. The price of auto diesel has been increased by Rs. 10 per litre, bringing the new price to Rs. 121, while the price of a litre of super diesel has been increased by Rs. 15, making its new price Rs. 159. The price of kerosene has also been increased by Rs. 10 to Rs. 87 per litre.