Isura orders removal of penalty against private bus operators

Published : 9:01 am  September 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (111) reads | 

By Chaturanga Samarawickrama   

Following a request made by the Inter-Provincial Private Bus Association (IPPBA), Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya yesterday ordered to remove the penalty against bus drivers and conductors who violated regulations and failed to wear their uniforms while on duty. He also ordered the cancellation of the driver-conductor training project. 

“As rulers in the Western Province, it is our responsibility to strengthen bus associations. 

Therefore, we lent a patient hearing to the requests made by the IPPBA and decided to remove the penalty. 

The central government or provincial councils should strengthen service provider institutions and not impose fines or taxes on them. Private bus operators are doing a great public service as they own a large number of buses than the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB). 

The ongoing driver-conductor training project has become useless and each trainee is charged Rs.750. Considering several issues raised by the IPPBA and following a meeting with the chief minister, the Transport Minister and the National Transport Chairman have decided to terminate the training programme. However, we shouldn’t undervalue the services rendered by the SLTB,” the Chief Minister said.    

He said the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) never privatised any bus service in the country as done by the United National Party (UNP). 

“Promoting a bus ticket is not the responsibility of any provincial council. Bus tickets are important only to passengers. 

If they have tickets, they can claim for insurance at the time of an accident. 

It is the bus owner and not the provincial council that should be held responsible for issuing bus tickets. Bus owners get a daily wage only if tickets are issued by the conductors. So, I advised bus owners to follow this practice. Furthermore, I have instructed our officials to discuss a minimum amount to regulate the private bus service, if necessary,” he said.