Bus owners warn govt. against bluff tactics

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) yesterday warned the government against taking it for a ride to prevent a planned strike by giving false promises.

Association President Gemunu Wijeratne

Said that if the government takes action to grant the privileges and subsidies, enjoyed by the SLTB to the Private Bus Industry, as enjoyed by the SLTB, to the Private Bus Industry, they would operate buses at half rate and the minimum bus fare would be Rs.3.00.

LPBOA yesterday decided to keep away from all negotiations with the government in future. Unless the government took tangible action to revise bus fares or grant fuel subsidy before December 14, the LPBOA would launch a country-wide bus strike, he told the Media.

Wijeratne said that the private bus industry was incurring a Rs.14 million loss per day. The Industry was unable to tolerate the huge loss any longer and would give the government until December 14 to consider their plight otherwise they would be forced to strike.

Wijeratne added that LPBOA was aware that the Cabinet paper on bus fare revision submitted by Private Transport Minister C. B. Ratnayaka had been deferred.

When contacted Private Transport Minister C. B. Ratnayaka said stressed that the government was not afraid pf wild-cat strikes. The LPBOA had 20,500 buses and a 43,000 bus crew. If LPBOA launched a strike, it would suffer a lot. The government would take action to operate more SLTB buses and trains to maintain a regular transport service, he said.

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