A move by the Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) to introduce a prepaid card system for private buses on September 24 has hit a snag after another bus association today vowed to stop the new system stating that it was illegal and did not have the approval of the government authorities.
The PBOA intends to begin a pilot project for about a period of one month on the Gampaha-Colombo and Mattegoda-Pitakotte routes. The project has been approved by the Central Bank and could be a success if implemented correctly, PBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratne said.
However a different organisation, the All Island Private Bus Company Federation today vowed to stop the country’s biggest private bus union from introducing a new prepaid card system for buses in the coming weeks stating that the union did not have the support of the government authorities to implement such a project which they said was illegal.
The federation’s Secretary, Anjana Priyanjith said that under no terms will the PBOA be allowed to introduce a prepaid card system. “We are in dire need of bus route timetables at this time. Without timetables this system will not be productive. It is not that we are against a pre-paid system but that we need to resolve the exiting issues in the industry before introducing it. This is a project worth millions and needs careful consideration before it is introduced,” Priyanjith said.
The federation’s Chairman Stanley Fernando said the current ticket machine system while being adequate needs to be improved. He said the government should issue quality ticket machines to bus owners stating that they incur heavy losses due to the continuous breaking down of the machines. “70% of the tickets machines issued recently did not work properly. We are asking the authorities to issue better quality machines,” he said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)