Police to come down hard on violators | Sunday Observer
Only sitting passengers permitted in buses

Police to come down hard on violators

2 May, 2021

State Minister of Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments and Motor Car Industry Dilum Amunugama said clear instructions have been given to the IGP to direct the Police to aggressively inspect public transport to ascertain whether the occupants are obeying health guidelines.

The National Transport Commission and the Provincial Transport Commissions have also been instructed to suspend the route permits of buses with no date to be reactivated if they are transporting passengers beyond the number of seats, the State Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

He said we still see that public transport is breaking the health rules. “Actually, this is not the time to violate rules and they should understand that.”

Amunugama said if there is some sort of decrease in the pandemic, obviously we will relax the rules and let them make some money but this is not the time. The Ministry had permitted to increase the bus fare and given loans and postponed the leasing installments of private bus operators.

All this has been done by the Government. Hence, private bus operators should also support the Government to deal with this situation.

The State Minister said when it comes to the pandemic, public transport is one of the major areas which pave the way to increase or decrease the number of Covid-19 cases. “So, you can’t have anyone playing around with vital sectors like that”. He said according to the instructions, passengers will be accommodated according to the number of seats in a bus. Each passenger should have an individual seat and it is illegal to carry standing passengers. That is why bus fares were also revised. Actually, this was gazetted during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, this is a standard rule and if any bus operator breaks the rule, he can be easily arrested. We have instructed the Police to aggressively go ahead with this operation and this applies to all buses with passengers. The Railway Department has also been given strict instructions to limit the number of passengers in trains. “I must say that train commuters are at least, following the health guidelines. The train commuters seem to be going by the rules. Even the Railway Department also tries to implement the rules. State Minister Amunugama said they are ready to make any adjustments in keeping with the situation. “I have given instructions to the Sri Lanka Transport Board to deploy two buses per each turn during peak hours. If, earlier there was only one bus per turn, we have now asked them to deploy two buses. This would help limit the number of passengers so that they could have only seated passengers and not standing passengers”.