State sector bus service increases, private sector decreases

With various new initiatives, public passenger transportation showed some improvement in 2007. The average number of buses operated per day by Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) increased by 9% to 4,127. The average number of buses operated by the private sector however decreased by 2% in 2007. The total operated kilometres and passenger kilometres of SLTB increased by 16% and 15% respectively, during the year. Meanwhile, the new registration of motor vehicles in 2007 decreased marginally. The registration of passenger buses too decreased by 21% in 2007 stated the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Annual Report 2007.

Several projects were launched in 2007 to address the existing issues in the sector. Inadequate and poor quality of service, increasing number of accidents and weak enforcement of regulations were some of the continuing key issues in the bus passenger transport service. Several programmes have been launched to address these issues. As 35% of total private buses were over 10 years old, a Re-fleet Subsidy project was implemented in 2007. The objective of this project is to improve the quality of bus service by replacing old buses with new buses and strengthen the rural transport services. The ‘Nisi Seriya’ night time bus service, ‘Sisu Seriya’ school bus service and ‘Gemi Seriya’ to provide transport facilities in uneconomic, remote areas were continued.

Bus fares were revised from July 2007. As per the national bus fares policy, passenger bus fares were increased by an average rate of 17.5%, mainly to compensate the increases in fuel prices. A committee has been appointed by the National Transport Commission (NTC) to recalibrate the bus operation cost index with a view to make fare revision more realistic.

The financial position of SLTB continued to be weak. The revenue of SLTB for the year 2007 increased by 21% to Rs. 15,036 million mainly due to increased bus fares. As operating cost also increased 14% during the year, the operating loss amounted to Rs. 2,542 million in the previous year. The government grants to SLTB as bus-season subsidy, uneconomic route subsidy and other school bus projects amounted to Rs. 358 million in 2007, the report noted.

www island.lk

Copyright©Upali Newspapers Limited.

Hosted by


Upali Newspapers Limited, 223, Bloemendhal Road, Colombo 13, Sri Lanka, Tel +940112497500