LPBOA urge bus fare hike
By Nabiya Vaffoor
The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) urged the Government to increase bus fares immediately if there is an increase in fuel prices. Responding to a journalist’s query regarding a statement made by another association over ad hoc price hikes for several items such as rice, milk powder and food, Association president, Gemunu Wijeratne said there was no possibility to increase bus fares in such a manner, “There is no legal possibility to increase bus fares in such a manner.
We are bound by the Government decision regarding bus fare increases.The private bus industry is operating under the Government. No individual can make such an increase at his will. Bus fares can be increased by proposing a request to the Government to increase bus fares. There is a process that has to be followed for that. We cannot hike fares without seeking the help of the judiciary,” he added.
Wijeratne also said fare hikes were imminent. “No matter how costly this situation is, we have the ability to control it for a few more days. We have submitted the necessary criteria to the Transport Ministry. Inevitably, if fuel prices increase, bus fares will also increase because without that there is no way to maintain the industry. Even if fuel prices increase by a rupee, bus fares will have to be increased,” he added.
When a journalist inquired whether it was only the minimum fare that will be increased, Wijeratne said it will affect the entire range of bus fares. Speaking at a Media briefing yesterday (21), Wijeratne outlined these views and also discussed the price hike for spare parts for buses, the dearth in bus passengers, resignation of conductors and some drivers and buses being in poor condition. He also said the private bus service was facing numerous problems such as difficulty in paying the lease for buses.