Comments /948 Views / Monday, 12 June 2017 01:15
By Charumini de Silva
Transport and Civil Aviation Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe yesterday said that bus fares will increase by 6.5% from 1 July.
Accordingly, the minimum Rs. 9 bus fare will be increase to Rs. 10, while other fares will be altered by Rs. 1 and Rs. 2 respectively.
While confirming the price hike, Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne told Daily FT that the authorities must do away with the annual price revision and get a new pricing formula where buses will be paid according to a reasonable running cost which will not pass on the price hike burden to commuters.
He said the annual price revision is applicable for 10 categories of roads, but there is no proper formula to decide on the price increase along the expressways.
“The expressways are not included in the categories and we have no idea how the price hike calculation is made,” he pointed out.
With the bus fare hike effective from 1 July, Wijeratne anticipates the current Maharagama-Galle bus fare of Rs. 390 will be increased to Rs. 430.
“The expressway bus fares are extremely high. There is a monopoly. No new licenses have been issued in the recent past,” he claimed.
He highlighted that they had suggested to the Government several times to liberalise the market, which will allow ordinary buses to operate along the expressway, which he termed to be more “economical” for passengers.
“If the Government can allow ordinary private buses also to operate people can travel up and down for Rs. 400. I do not think normal passengers are looking at the luxury of air conditioning for just a one and half hour drive along the expressway which is also dust-free. They are more concerned with the price factor,” he stated.
At present around 300 buses are operating along expressways.
He claimed that even though Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and other authorities have been informed of these situations, the suggestions they have made have been ignored for the past one and half years
Wijeratne also stressed that the archaic regulations needed to be reviewed accordingly as there were many loopholes which needed immediate attention to provide a better service to commuters.
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