Strict rules to regulate private buses
The National Transport Commission (NTC) has introduced strict rules
to regulate private buses. Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said
that new regulations will be enforced from next month for
inter-provincial long distance buses that are regulated by the NTC.
The new regulations for private buses will be enforced from next
month for inter-provincial long distance buses that are
regulated by the National Transport Commission.
Accordingly bus owners will have to maintain their buses in keeping
with the new standards introduced, follow the amended regulations and
new regulations to renew their route permits, the Minister said.
Under the new regulations, all buses should have fire extinguishers
for safety and a clock in the bus to ensure the on time departure and
reach the destination within the given time. The departure and arrival
times should also be displayed inside the bus. All buses should display
the route plates issued by the NTC on the front and rear of the bus to
ensure that the buses are running on the given route.
All buses should hold a fitness certificate issued by the NTC
approved garage to ensure that seats and other technical features are in
keeping with the new standards. Buses will not be allowed to cover the
glass with dark or tinted stickers and the objective is to enable
passengers to see the vacant seats in the bus before they embark, ensure
that there is no overloading or carrying standees in luxury buses.
All additional lights that are not recommended by the NTC such as
beacon lights have to be removed. The front and rear of the bus should
be painted in the same colour and any stickers, words or drawings should
not be displayed. Buses can have only a radio and cassette players and
CD players should be removed. The volume of the music should be less
than 85 decibels.
Under the new regulations private buses can have only one conductor
and after the journey begins one door has to be kept closed. Standees
can be carried only in the space between two seat rows and the number of
passengers should not exceed the maximum number of passengers that can
be carried in the bus.
Buses should have sufficient fuel to complete the journey. The
objective is to avoid the risk faced by passengers in filling stations
and avoiding delays.
Initially these regulations apply to 3,300 long distance buses, but
over 16,000 private buses governed by the provincial transport
authorities are not subjected to these regulations.
Though the NTC and transport authorities introduced this type of
regulations from time to time bus operators follow them only for a few
weeks. Minister Alahapperuma said that these issues in the private bus
sector have now become sub culture and difficult to change. However, NTC
officials will strictly enforce them this time, he said.
The Minister also said that the NTC will introduce a rotation
timetable for private buses soon and ensure that all bus operators get
the peak hours turn.
Today only a few bus owners enjoy the peak hours slot that have a
higher income. As a result some bus owners earn a lower income.
The NTC attempted to introduce this rotation timetable for many years
but political influence thwarted it, the minister said. The Minister
said that a national transport policy is being drafted and a crucial
meeting in this connection will be held on January 18. The draft of the
national policy will be published to seek commuters' views.
The objective of the national transport policy is to uplift the
public transport services to attract commuters and make the roads
Today, around 830,000 people travel daily to the Colombo city and of
them 10% travel by train and 56% by buses. Only 11% of people travel by
cars but they occupy 65% of the road capacity. To reduce congestion and
city traffic we have to attract these car users to the common transport
service by improving its quality, the Minister said.