Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association President Gemunu Wijeratne yesterday said that they had decided to reduce the number of buses and bus journeys operated on certain roads by 50% from next Monday onwards.
He told media that private bus owners were facing a financial crisis due to the reduction in income caused by the reluctance of the public to use public transport caused by fear among them of the ‘second wave’ in relation to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Mr. Wijeratne said although they had informed the government regarding their issues, their pleas have been ignored so far.
He revealed that they had requested the government to provide them fuel concessions or to allow an increase in bus fares during this COVID-19 epidemic period as it was financially not viable to operate buses while maintaining social distancing.
Moreover, he said they had requested the government for an extension on insurance payments and a further extension on leasing payments.
However, Mr. Wijeratne said the government has paid no heed to these requests and therefore, amidst this crisis, we have no choice but to take such a decision.
“Because of our faith in the President, we won’t go on strike. But the government should realise they have a duty towards private bus industry,” he said.