Sri Lanka bus fares up 6.5-pct after step fuel hike, operators demand more

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a fare hike of about 6.56 percent, with no change in the 10 rupee lowest fare, but operators are threatening to strike saying it is not enough.

Sri Lanka has sudden hikes in fares due to delayed adjustment of fuel prices and the lack of a daily price revision like in India now.

Lanka Private Bus Owners Association President Gemunu Wijeratne demanded an overall 10 percent increase. Another operator association wanted 20 percent.

Under the current pricing mechanism, which is changed every year, steep increases in costs allows operators to ask for a hike.

Diesel prices were raised 14 percent to 109 rupees a litre from 95 rupees.

Fuel is about 30 percent of operating costs, Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Seneviratne had said earlier.

Sri Lanka’s central bank which printed money in 2015 busted the rupee in a balance of payments crisis. In 2017 it continued to depreciate the currency despite credit contracting under real effective exchange rate targeting policy and in March 2018 the rupee also slid as money was printed to enforce a rate cut and repay debt. (Colombo/May16/2018)

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