Private bus strike in Sri Lanka ends, fares raised

Feb 13, Colombo: Private bus operators in Sri Lanka called off their strike Monday after the government agreed to their demand for a fare hike following the increase in fuel prices.

The government has agreed to allow the private bus operators to raise the fares by 20 percent Minister of Private Transport Services C.B. Rathnayake has said. Accordingly, the minimum fare will be increased up to 9.00 rupees.

The decision to end the strike was taken following a meeting held by the private bus owners and the ministry officials today.

The Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) President Gemunu Wijerathna has said that the services will resume from tomorrow as usual.

The strike launched by the PBOA inconvenienced a large number of commuters today. Several other private bus associations have not joined the PBOA’s strike action.

The Minister explaining the situation said the fuel prices have gone up in the world market and the government has to increase fuel prices accordingly.

The government raised diesel prices by nearly 37 percent to Rs. 115 for a liter effective from Sunday.

Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has commended the state-owned bus service and the railways for stepping in to alleviate the hardship on the commuters.

Sri Lanka state bus and train services alone cannot meet the demand for passenger transport and the private bus services carry a significant portion of the commuters.

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