According to Central bank annual report 2021 , operations of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and private bus operators recorded notable declines in 2021.
This was mainly due to mobility restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the increased preference for private transportation.
Total revenue of the SLTB declined by 13.7 per cent to Rs. 26.9 billion in 2021, while total expenditure also declined by around 9.1 per cent to Rs. 30.4 billion.
The SLTB recorded an operational loss of Rs. 3.4 billion in 2021 compared to an operational loss of Rs. 2.2 billion recorded in the previous year.
During the year, the subsidy provided by the Government to undertake operations on uneconomical routes and to facilitate subsidised season tickets amounted to Rs.12.2 billion.
Accordingly, during the year, operated kilometrage and passenger kilometrage of the SLTB declinedby 19.7 per cent and 28.4 per cent, respectively,while the average number of buses operated in 2021 increased to 4,449 buses from 4,045 buses recorded in 2020, which was around
85.7 per cent of the fleet that was effectively available for publictransportation operations of the SLTB during theperiod.
Meanwhile, the average number of buses operated by the private sector declined by 16.1 percent to 9,053 buses in 2021 from 10,787 buses recorded in the previous year. During the year, passenger kilometrage and operated kilometrage of private bus operators also contracted by 12.2 percent and 4.4 per cent, respectively.
As at end 2021,the National Transport Commission (NTC) had issued 1,978 inter-provincial permits and 16,914intra-provincial permits for private bus operations.