The Ministry of Private Transport said yesterday that there will be a definite increase in bus fares from July 1.
Ministry Secretary, Victor Samaraweera said although a decision has finally been taken to increase the fares, no decision has still been taken on how much the fares will be increased by. He said however that it is hard to say at this time as to whether bus fares will be increased by 15 per cent as was demanded by private bus owners.
“We will calculate the formula and negotiate with the bus owners unions and provincial council authorities and decide on the minimum fare as well as the other fares,” he said. He said the ministry will make an announcement on the bus fare rates before the end of the month.
Meanwhile private bus owners have demanded an increment of the minimum bus fare from Rs.6 to Rs.8 and a 15 per cent in other fares stating that bus owners suffered massive losses as there has not been a bus fare increment in almost two years.
“The public transport industry suffers a massive loss of Rs.200 billion each year due to traffic congestion, bus damages, lack of subsidies, road accidents and other irregularities in the transport system,” Private Bus Owners Association President Gemunu Wijeyratne said adding that these were more reasons that contributed the need for a bus fare increase.
Wijeyratne said that due to these discrepancies the number of passengers in trains, private and SLTB buses have reduced by 20 per cent in the last three years and said that the purchase of private vehicles are on the rise as a result of this. He said due to these losses it was imperative to increase bus fares by 15 per cent. (Olindhi Jayasundere)