More than 1,300 Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses would be assigned for election duties according to based on a request by the Elections Commission fewer than three categories, SLTB DGM (Operations) P.H.R.T. Chandrasiri said yesterday.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said buses would be assigned for transporting ballot boxes, transporting officials and for the Sri Lanka Police Department to transport police officers.
“More buses will be assigned for transporting ballot boxes,” he said.
“The buses were requested for four days until Sunday (17) by the Elections Commissioner through the transport committee,” he said.
"Eastern Province had requested 188 SLTB buses for transporting ballot boxes. 320 buses had been requested by the Western Province and likewise, all other provinces had requested buses.
“Rajarata Region (Anuradhapura, Horowpothana, Dambulla, Kekirawa, Polonnaruwa, and Kebithigollewa) and North-Western provinces did not request for buses," he said.
However, 1,300 more buses had been assigned than the number of buses that were assigned during the previous election, Mr Chandrasiri said.
Circulars regarding making payments for releasing SLTB buses for election duties were sent to relevant authorities. The SLTB had calculated the minimum reservation charges of Rs.15,000 per day/per bus.
He said the Elections Commission had already agreed upon the charges mentioned therein the circulars.
“No buses would be released for elections free of charge,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lanka Private Bus Owner's Association (SLBOA) Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said the Elections Commission had requested about 350 buses to be assigned for election duties.
“Previously we set aside about 750 buses during the parliamentary elections,” he said.
"The SLTB employees had cast their votes using the postal voting system. The private bus operators did not have that opportunity. Therefore on the election day, we could use only 25% of our buses for both election duties and passenger service," Mr. Wijeratne said. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)