Private bus operators said yesterday that though the percentage increase in bus fares had not yet been officially decided, it was likely that fares would be raised by 10 per cent with the minimum bus fare remaining at Rs.9 while the rest would be increased by Rs.1.
Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) said the existing bus fare of Rs.12 would be increased to Rs.13, Rs.16 to Rs.17 and Rs.19 to Rs.20 and so on.
Bus fares are subject to an annual revision based on a special formula taking into account various factors such as the rate of inflation, the price of a litre of diesel, maintenance costs and the price of tyres and other spare parts.
LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said all private bus associations were meeting the Transport and Private Transport Services Ministry officials daily in an effort to work out the percentage bus fare increase.
He said based on the ongoing discussions it was likely that fares would be increased by 10 per cent with the minimum fare remaining at Rs.9.
The private bus associations had requested the authorities to grant them a diesel subsidy at a percentage increase equivalent to the percentage increase in bus fares because a bus fare hike as such would hurt the transport industry as a whole.
However Private Transport Services Minister C.B. Ratnayake had said a fuel subsidy was not feasible because even the case of the fisheries industry, the provision of subsidies had not proved viable.
The minister had therefore approved the decision to increase bus fares to keep in line with the increase in fuel prices. (Olindhi Jayasundere)