No hike in bus fares, says NTC chief
The National Transport Commission (NTC) under no circumstances will
permit an increase in the minimum bus fare from Rs. 6 to Rs. 7 at this
stage, yielding to the demands of a handful of bus operators, National
Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Sashi Welgama told the Sunday
He said only a handful of bus operators were making this demand and
the majority of them are not in favour of it.
The All-Island Bus Owners Association has threatened an all-island
private bus strike demanding a Rs. 1 increase in the minimum bus fare.
But the All Ceylon Private Bus Operators Association President Gemunu
Wijeratne said that they are not making such a demand.
“To increase the minimum bus fare by Re 1 there should be at least 4
percent increase in the expenses of bus operators as evaluated by the
NTC annually”, he said.
According to the evaluation by the NTC, only a slight increase of 0.5
percent was reported this year compared to the evaluation last year.
The NTC does an annual evaluation according to the agreement with
private bus operators in 2002, considering 13 factors that may affect
the operational costs of private buses. These 13 factors include the
price of tyres, spare parts, fuel, the cost involved in purchasing
buses, EPF and ETF payments and leasing instalments.
“Compared to the increase in their operational costs, the interest on
leasing instalments has dropped drastically within the year under
review”, he said. “Considering these factors the NTC cannot allow any
increase in the minimum bus fare at this stage”, Welgama said.
He said since 2002, the bus fares have been increased 10 times and on
three occasions there had been reductions in bus fares according to the
agreement with bus operators.
“There is no necessity to increase even the minimum bus fare at this
stage”, he said.