(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Minister of Transport Services Management, Mahinda Amaraweera stresses that a hike in private bus fares will not be allowed at all.
At a discussion held with private bus owners’ associations, the Minister has emphasized that even though the revenue is less than 50 percent due to the current situation, it is not possible to revise the bus fares at this time.
The Minister stressed that the government will not burden the people in any manner when they are already burdened financially due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “Therefore bus fares will not be increased for any reason,” he has said.
However, it was decided to grant several key requests made by the private bus unions. Accordingly a loan of Rs. 300,000 will be provided to the bus owners by a state bank.
Necessary preliminary steps have also been taken to provide lease premium relief and grace period for insurance premiums. The National Transport Commission has suspended the log seat charges for inter-provincial buses for six months. The annual fee for tender fees has also been suspended for six months.
The National Transport Commission would incur a loss of Rs. 200 million due to the concessions granted to the private bus owners.
The imposition of fines for minor offenses was also temporarily suspended.
Meanwhile, the Minister has instructed the Sri Lanka Transport Board to deploy all SLTB buses even though 50 percent of private buses are not in operation. Accordingly, the Ministry of Transport states that 5300 SLTB buses are being operated.