Members of the Colombo District Bus Passengers’ Association yesterday requested a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Transport to discuss issues and difficulties faced by commuters in the Western Province.
The Association requested the meeting with Deputy Minister Asoka Abeysinghe to discuss the worsening vehicular traffic congestion and quality deterioration in the public transport system, convener of the Association Vimukthi Dushantha told Daily FT.
“With the worsening traffic congestion, it is important to strengthen public transport. But, currently, it is really bad. There are so many issues with the public transportation system that we want to discuss. There are some issues that have been raised over a long period of time, like the lack of public transportation in certain routes during night hours that have not been addressed,” Dushantha said.
Outlining the concerns of the group, he said that the Association intends to raise concerns over the negligence of bus drivers who endanger passengers, behaviour of conductors, and the noise pollution by buses which play loud music and videos.
Further, the Association also plans to raise concerns over the lack of action by the authorities in addressing sexual harassment in buses which, according to UNFPA, happens to about 90% of women taking public transport in Sri Lanka.
“We also want to raise the quality issues in the semi-luxury bus service. Although they charge a higher price, the service is not of better quality. Plus, we wanted to propose a luxury shuttle service in Colombo which would undoubtedly reduce the number of vehicles entering the city,” he said.
Dushantha expects the meeting to take place within this week. The Association has earlier worked with the Ministry to decide on reasonable increases in bus fares and introduction of the new online bus booking app.