|Thursday, 26 June 2003|
by Rajmi Manatunga
The All Ceylon Private Omnibus Owners Federation yesterday threatened to go on strike if the National Transport Commission failed to agree to a hike in the Rs.3 short distance fare for private buses. The Omnibus owners had demanded that the NTC includes this minimum fare hike among the proposals formulated by the NTC for a fare revision.
A spokesman for the Federation told the Daily News that if today's discussions at the Transport Ministry failed to yield an acceptable solution, all bus owners attached to the Federation will suspend their services.
The NTC on Monday refused to increase the Rs 3 minimum fare as requested by the bus owners. Chairman A.B Thalagune said that the Rs 3 and Rs 6 short distance fare should remain unchanged according to the original formulations.
However, the bus owners themselves seem to be divided over the issue with the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) opposing a change in the proposed fare revision of the NTC. LPBOA Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said that 8.5 per cent was the maximum increase they could expect in the present circumstances. "A bus fare hike always causes difficulties to commuters. An increase in the minimum fare will only harass them further," he said.
Wijeratne also claimed that they will effect the revision in the long distance services, only if CTB fares are increased in line with the NTC formulations.
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