By Nabiya Vaffoor
Following the overnight massive fuel price increase on Monday night, fares of both private and SLTB buses were increased by 35 per cent from midnight yesterday (19).
The Private Bus Owners’ Association said, the minimum bus fare was increased to Rs 27 from Rs 20.
Following discussions between Transport Minister, Dilum Amunugama, and several private bus owners, Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) Chairman, Gemunu Wijeratne and All Ceylon Bus Owners Association (ACBOA) Chairman, Anjana Priyanjith noted that protests due to the fuel price hike around the island was stopped following the bus fare revision.
The All Island School Children Transport Association said they were compelled to increase school van fares by 40 per cent as the CPC has increased prices. Speaking to Ceylon Today, Association Secretary, Lalith Chandrasiri said they advised the members not to increase van fares in an ad hoc bases, but negotiate with parents and then increase fares accordingly.
“When the CPC increased fuel prices last time, we decided not to increase school van fares, but this time around, it is unfortunate that school van operators will face a huge burden. Although, it is not fair to pass the burden onto parents, we have no option but to increase van fares,” he added.
They said they face numerous difficulties in continuing their service due to the diesel shortage. “We have to stand in queues for a long period to refuel, which is a waste of valuable time,” he added.
Meanwhile, LPBOA warned the authorities that the minimum bus fare of Rs20 will be increased to Rs40, if the Government does not take steps to stem the stability of the rupee against the dollar.
Speaking to Ceylon Today, LPBOA Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said the annual bus fare revision will come into effect in July and new bus fares will be calculated considering the dollar rate and looking at every aspect linked to it.
“With the huge depreciation of the rupee against the USD, all the related items related to the bus service, such as tyres, tubes, lubricants, repairs, spare parts and all other accessories that are needed to run the buses, prices have increased drastically. Except for diesel, tyres and tubes, vehicle servicing, lubricants, repairs, air-conditioner repairs, daily, monthly and annual overhead, provision of responsibility, instalment payments against financing and the current interest rates need to be considered when revising the annual bus fare,” Wijerathne said.
Therefore, he requested the government to take immediate action to control the depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar to get the best possible rate for the annual bus fare revision.