The bus fares will be reduced by four per cent effective from Thursday (26) midnight, Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said today.
He made the announcement at a media briefing at the Ministry with several bus associations, three-wheeler associations and All-Island School Children Transport Association (AISCTA).
He also said there would be no change in the minimum bus fare of Rs.12. The Minister said the bus fare stages which are at Rs.15, Rs.20, Rs.24, Rs.29, Rs.38 and Rs.43 would drop by Rs.1. Rs.34, Rs.41, Rs.46, Rs.49 and Rs.52 would drop by Rs.2. The highest fare Rs.965 would drop down by Rs.41 and it would be Rs.924.
Minister Ranatunga said the decision was taken following the announcement made by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to reduce the fuel prices from last Friday (21) night. In line with the bus fare reduction, three-wheeler associations and the school children, Transport Associations decided to reduce their fares as well. Accordingly, three-wheeler associations agreed to reduce the fare of the first kilometre by Rs. 10 - from Rs.60 to Rs. 50. From midnight on Wednesday, charges for the first kilometre would be Rs.50.
Meanwhile, AISCTA said their fares would be reduced by three per cent from Wednesday night. At the media briefing, the Minister further added that he would do the best so that people are benefited by fuel price reductions. “If the oil price in the world market drops down further, the fuel prices in our country would come down accordingly but that could also happen the other way around,” the Minister said. The transport service had become an important service comparing to the education and health services in our country. As such, more priority should be given to the transport sector,” Minister Ranatunga said.
While issuing a special notice, National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman M.A.P. Hemachandra said an interim bus fare revision has been granted by the NTC effective from December 27 in the terms of the National Bus Fares Policy, in order to compensate the decrease in fuel price. The full fare in respect of approved inter-provincial, normal, semi-luxury, luxury and super luxury services implemented by the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and Private Passenger Transport Services will be displayed for the information of bus passengers, owners, crews, authorities, and the general public.
Mr Hemachandra also said stern action would be taken against any operator who charges fares in excess of the approved fare. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)