Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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500 new buses to add the SLTB fleet with Indian credit line

Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) has been directed to embark on additional revenue generation ventures while increasing its bus fleet to provide better service to commuters.

It will undertake vehicle repairs and modifications for the public and private sector institutions making maximum use of available resources as an immediate solution to its poor financial situation.

The government owned public passenger bus service is running at severe loss and currently it has sought Rs 1 billion from treasury several months ago  to survive till the end of last year, TransPort Ministry sources said.

The government will procure 500 more new buses for the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) under the Indian loan grant scheme.

The Cabinet of Ministers has  granted  approval to procure 500 new buses of 32 – 35 seating capacity to the Sri Lanka Transport Board under the Indian loan grant scheme. 

Accordingly, bids have been called from 03 institutions that accomplish pre requisite for the purchase of buses, the government said. 

The MinistrY of Transport will be purchasing 500 new buses with 32 seating capacity from Ashok Leyland Company of India, as per the recommendation furnished by the standing 

The SLTB has incurred a loss of Rs. 484 million last year as a  of mobility restrictions and country wide lock downs imposed due Covid -19 latest wave , Finance Ministry data shows.

Several proposals have been made at a high level meeting to make SLTB a profitable state owned public enterprise by devising a modern public transport and rapid transit plan and programme based on the government investment programme in Budget 2022.

A suggestion has been made to engage efficient motor mechanics numbering 4500 and workers of SLTB bus workshops in private and public vehicle repairs in addition to their normal duty by undertaking revenue generating contracts, a high official of the Transport Ministry said.

Preliminary measures are already initiated to undertake repairs of the damaged vehicles of state Corporations and public sector institutions to attract the public money into the SLTB restricting its flow into the private garages.

In addition to the repairing of buses and cars it will manufacture the seats, seat cushion covers and cushion for buses, manufacture spare nuts, and paint the completed buses and cars, he added. 

 Similarly, it will maintain a mobile service to repair vehicles after breakdowns on roads ,he said.

One of the proposals made at the meeting was to expedite the park and drive system enabling public and private sector officials using vehicles for office travel daily by introducing convenient luxury bus service from places where they park their cars.

Passengers are facilitated to park their cars in Makumbura Multi-modal Transport Center Vehicle Park free of charge and following the examination of the progress of the program, the space allocated for the cars is expected to be expanded.

School bus service will also be strengthened with a bus fleet painted with yellow colour while private and public passenger transport busses will be painted with two different colours.

Providing incentives for SLTB employees, minimising waste and corruption, improving efficiency and making maximum use of unutilised lands owned by the board by leasing it out to investors for development were among the other proposals discussed at the meeting.

The review of current conditions will examine public transport routes and passenger demand, fare structures, ticketing systems, fleet conditions, subsidies and financial viability, and operational service standards.

 Surveys on bus speed and attitudes of customers will be carried out for the  assessment of future urban transportation needs, identification of improvements to public transport needed to address these needs.  

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