Amidst threats of strikes by private bus operators unless the Transport Ministry took action to increase bus fares immediately, the National Transport Commission (NTC) today announced that there will be no revision of bus fares in July this year, much to the relief of commuters.
The Chairman of NTC, Roshan Gunawardana said the monthly review carried out by the NTC on expenditure of bus transport on the conditions of National Transport Policy did not warrant a bus fare hike.
“We take into account of fuel charges, prices of spare parts and tyres, salaries to the bus crew and maintenance cost of a bus among 12 indicators to consider the bus fare every month. We have found that the expenditure to run a bus has gone up since the last bus fare hike in February 02, 2012 only fractionally. Therefore, it is highly unjust on the part of the commuter to increase bus fare at once again in July this year,” Mr. Gunawardana stressed.
Mr. Gunawardana said the monthly bus fare costs were reviewed with the participation of the Private Bus Transport Minister C. B. Ratnayaka and his officials and all were unanimous not to increase bust fare right now. Bus fares must be revised on July 1st of every year in accordance with the National Transport Policy.
However, if there was an unexpected large scale diesel price hike, the Transport Ministry will rethink to revise bus fares subject to the approval of the cabinet, Mr. Gunawardana added.
Private Bus Operators’ President Gemunu Wijeratne is on record saying recently that those members of his organisation representing over 70% of private bus operators in the country that if the NTC did not increase bus fares immediately they would resort to indefinite strike. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)