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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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No new permits for private bus operators

Enough buses to provide good service

The Ministry of Transport will not issue new permits to private bus operators as the number of buses that operate is sufficient to provide a good service.

Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Nihal Somaweera said that the Ministry took this decision to provide a better service to commuters by improving the facilities and making maximum use of the buses that operate in the country.

"Most buses are underutilised and the average mileage per day of private bus operators is around 100 kilometres.

While the minimum mileage of private bus operators is 150 kilometres CTB buses are expected to travel 200 kilometres a day", he said. The Secretary said if bus operators ply according to a proper time schedule there is no need to increase the number of buses. Most private bus operators are not making profits and are only adding to the congestion on roads.

While private bus owners operate around 20,000 buses the Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) operates around 5,000 buses. "By curtailing the number of bus operators, the Ministry can monitor the standard of services and take action against those violating regulations.

Bus operators have to follow guidelines on sound control and the maximum emission levels", he said.

The Ministry of Transport will reduce the number of gates at the Pettah Central Bus Stand as a security measure to counter terrorist attacks.

There will be only two gates with checkpoints at the entrance and exit points. Armour plates will be provided for buses plying in certain areas to protect passengers from claymore mines. Buses with armour plates will have a less loading capacity.

The Secretary said the Ministry has planned to renovate the Pettah Central Bus Stand and provide better facilities to commuters.

The assistance of the private sector will be obtained to improve visibility, replace brick walls with iron railings, tile floors, improve the drainage system and sanitary facilities.

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