Cabinet approves 6.56% bus fare hike

Operators threaten strike from today


By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Cabinet of Ministers yesterday approved a proposal to effect a 6.5% bus fare increase, while keeping the minimum fare at Rs 10.

Minister of Transport, Nimal Siripala de Silva presented the proposal based on the recommendations of the committee, on bus fare amendments, which met on Monday (14).

He said: "They looked at 12 criteria. They decided that bus fares should go up by 6.56% and the minimum fare kept Rs. 10. The National Transport Commission (NTC) will inform necessary information to the bus owners soon," he said.

All-Island Private Bus Owners’ Federation (AIPBOF,) Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA)and Inter-Provincial Bus Owners’ Association (IPBOA) said his union would launch a strike from midnight today.

Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) states that it will go on strike from today (16). LPBOA President, Gemunu Wijeratne said that they had asked for a 10% bus fare hike.

"If the government had given at least 8% we would have agreed. We are asking for a hike because there is a lot of traffic congestion on the road. With this strike, we are also protesting the fact that the government has done nothing to develop the bus transport industry," he said.

Minister of Transport has done nothing but go on foreign trips since his appointment and progressive measures like the bus lane system has been abandoned. "If there was a bus lane we wouldn’t have to worry about traffic. People would have been able to go to work and return home easily. If there was a bus lane that operated throughout the day and we had a proper service, a lot of people would keep their motor vehicles home and take the bus. But nothing has been done and we are very angry," he said.

Earlier the Inter-Provincial Private Bus Owners’ Association demanded a 20% bus increase while the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association called for a 10% increase.

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