Private bus owners said today that they will increase bus fares by 15% even if they do not get the approval of the National Transport Commission (NTC) adding that bus owners have the legal authority to do so although the NTC has stated otherwise.
Bus fare increases are usually decided by the NTC with the agreement of bus owners and other relevant transport authorities. However, Private Bus Owners Association President, Gemunu Wijeyratne said that neither the provisions of the National Transport Commission Act nor the Provincial Transport Authorities Act states that the NTC has the authority in deciding bus fare amendments.
“The NTC continuously says that it is only they who can make amendments to the bus fares but they are wrong. We have given the NTC and the Ministry time till the end of May to make a decision on the matter. If the NTC does not, then we shall increase the bus fares by 15% without its support,” Wijeyratne said.
He said the association has sought legal advice on the matter and challenged the NTC to take the association to court if it wished to do so. He said a bus fare increment was necessary as no amendments have been made in one and a half years and said that private bus owners would provide their bus services for free if the authorities provided the fuel.
“More than Rs.5500 is allocated to run one SLTB bus each day. If the authorities give us the necessary diesel we shall provide are services without charging the passengers,” he said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)