The bus fares have been increased by 22 per cent with effect from midnight yesterday (30 June), increasing the minimum bus fare from Rs 32 to Rs 40.
Even though the increase is called as the annual bus fare revision, this is the fourth bus fare increase that took place in the year 2022.
Addressing the media yesterday (30), National Transport Commission (NTC) Director General Nilan Miranda, said the decision was taken considering the recent fuel price hike and that if fuel prices are increased by more than 10 per cent in the future, bus fares will be increased accordingly.
“Bus fares have been increased on four occasions this year alone. During the discussion on 28 June the private bus owners requested a 20-30 per cent fare increase. But with the calculation considering the twelve criteria, the bus fare has been increased by 22 per cent. When the fuel price increased previously, in April we increased the bus fare by 35 per cent though the calculation was 24 per cent, due to the request made by the bus trade unions. The trade unions agreed to reduce the increased 10 per cent in the next bus fare revision. Though the calculations of the annual bus fare revision suggested 32.9 per cent bus fare increase, we reduced the 10 per cent that was already increased with the agreement of all the bus trade unions,” he said. Miranda noted that the fare revision will be applicable to all SLTB buses, private buses as well as intercity and semi-luxury bus services.
On 28 June, discussions held between the NTC and representatives of private bus unions ended without an agreement on the bus fare revision. When Ceylon Today inquired Lanka Private Bus Owners Association in this regard Chairman of the association Gemunu Wijeratne questioned how the bus fare revision could take effect when only 10 per cent of private buses can afford to operate during the fuel crisis.
“The authorities should take steps to provide fuel and make at least 75 per cent of buses to operate, to get affective results of the annual bus fare revision,” Wijeratne added.
In response to this, Miranda noted that the NTC has taken enough steps between their limits to provide solutions for the crisis. He added that they have spoken with the SLTB and got them to provide private buses with surplus fuel and the NTC has also taken steps to allocate two fuel stations for private buses at Makumbra and Bastian Mawatha, Colombo.
He noted that though the Makumbura fuel station is functioning, the Bastian Mawatha fuel station hasn’t got fuel from the petroleum cooperation to start refuelling yet.
By Nabiya Vaffoor