Sri Lanka private bus owners to strike, Minister rules out fare hikes

Nov 13, Colombo: The Private Bus Operators’ Association (PBOA) of Sri Lanka says the Association has reached a unanimous decision to suspend operation of private buses island wide from midnight Monday.

Speaking to the media today, President of the Association Gemunu Wijeratne said the PBOA has reached the decision as the government failed to respond to its demand for a price hike or fuel subsidy.

He said the main reason for this decision was the increase in the price of fuel by the government and the Association, incurring heavy losses of millions of rupees, cannot bear the losses.

All private bus owners suffer a loss of 600 rupees per day from short distance travels and a loss of 1200 rupees per day from long distance travels as a result of the increase of price of a diesel liter.

Speaking to state-run radio SLBC Minister of Private Transport C. B .Ratnayake said that bus fares will not be increased by any manner.

He pointed out that the government has given several relief measures to the private bus industry and stressed that such trade union action is totally unacceptable.

The Minister also said that a special meeting to discuss the Association’s demands will be held tomorrow.

The PBOA earlier in the month called on the government to either provide a diesel subsidy to the bus operators or to allow them to increase bus fares. The Association gave the government a deadline till the 10th of the month.

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