Ministry of Private Transport Services will hold discussions with private bus owners regarding the annual revision of bus fares at the National Transport Commission (NTC) today (24).
The discussion will be held with the participation of the Minister of Private Transport Services, C.B. Ratnayake, NTC officials, bus owners’ associations and officials from the Provincial Transport authorities. A final decision on the revision is expected to be taken, consequent upon the discussions.
However, the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA), charged the NTC acts without transparency with regard to the annual revision of bus fares.
LPBOA Chairman, Gemunu Wijeratne, told Ceylon Today the NTC had recently informed bus owners, the bus fares would go up by 6.2%, but that is not the correct percentage by which bus fares should go up.
Wijeratne pointed out, in 2011, a committee was appointed to evaluate the National Bus Fare Policy and submit recommendations. However, to date, the NTC had not implemented the recommendations, he said.
“The committee comprised of high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Private Transport Services, and recommended that the NTC needs to get the observations of the Ministry of Finance regarding any revision in bus fares. However, NTC had not obtained the views of the Ministry of Finance,” he claimed.
According to him, more consideration should be given to the expenses incurred in running the service, which he said had increased, in the recent past.
“If calculations are done properly, the fares need to go up by 10%. However, the NTC has not shown us how the bus fare revision was calculated,” he asserted. Meanwhile, All Island Private Bus Owners Federation (AIPBOF), said they would not take part in the discussions as they have certain issues with the NTC.
General Secretary of AIPBOF, Anjana Priyanjith said, NTC has invited some bus owners’ associations that ‘cater to NTC’ so as to create a conflict between certain bus owners and AIPBOF.
He said they would take part if the discussions are held elsewhere, and added that AIPBOF had already informed the NTC and the Ministry of Private Transport Services about their stance with regard to the percentage by which bus fares should increase.
(Source: Ceylon Today)