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Private buses disgruntled

The Private Bus Operators today charged that they would go on strike in early January 2011 in protest against a decision by the Western Province Passenger Transport Authority to increase the issue of bus route permits by 20% in the Western Province.

Private Bus Operators Association’s President, Gemunu Wijeyratne while addressing a press conference today said that the decision to issue more bus route permits is illegal and will have an adverse effect on bus operators already plying the roads in Western Province.

“Route permits can only be issued if there are vacant positions for more buses in the timetable set in place for bus operators for each route. However, the Western Province is already overcrowded with a bus over-supply of 20%. The over-supply will double if increased by another 20%,” Wijeyratne said.

He said that the oversupply will increase congestion on the roads throughout the Western Province and the increased competition will severely affect the income of bus operators already plying the roads in the province.

Furthermore, Wijeyratne said that although cabinet gave approval for the issue of route permits for buses plying the Jaffna-Colombo route two months ago, these permits have still not been issued by the National Transport Commission (NTC).

“The tender procedure has not properly been adhered to and as a result a majority of the buses on the Jaffna-Colombo route are all unauthorized buses,” he said. He said that there are some 100 buses on this route and that this number is far more than the necessary requirement.

“A survey should be carried out on the bus requirement for the Jaffna-Colombo route and accordingly route permits should be issued to bus operators. Instead the NTC is carrying out a nonsensical process which has no meaning to it and the Government is loosing millions of rupees because of it,” he said.

Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 @ 10:22:31 LKT


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