ECONOMYNEXT – Private bus associations in Sri Lanka have called a countrywide bus strike from Tuesday October 25 protesting the seizure of 50 buses by leasing companies and seeking government intervention for a moratorium.
Secretary of the Inter-Provincial Private Bus Association (IPPBA) Anjana Priyantjith told the media that around 50 buses have been seized due to leasing evasions. He claimed that leasing agencies are attempting to seize nearly 3,000 buses for not paying up due installments.
“We urge the government and the leasing companies to grant us a moratorium until next March. It’s not our fault that installment payments were delayed. We need to have an immediate discussion with the responsible parties,” said Priyananjith.
Fuel prices were revised in Sri Lanka earlier in the week, which saw Petrol 92 drop by 40 rupees and now retailing at 370 a litre while Auto Diesel prices dropped by 15 rupees to be sold at 415 a litre. However, bus owners have said their fares will remain unchanged due to skyrocketing operational costs.
Bus owners and other public transport providers have not revised their fares as the fuel price revision doesn’t comply with Sri Lanka’s Transportation Rules and Regulations, a spokesman said.
Media Secretary of the Transport Ministry Mahesh Wickrama said: “The rule is that the [price] component of fuel must decrease by 4 percent for a [bus fare] revision to take place and in this case the [diesel price decrease] has been only 1.6%, which is why fares have remained unchanged.” (Colombo/Oct20/2022)