Govt to improve the passenger transport service adding 500 more buses
Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has taken a policy decision to procure 500 buses including 400 Nos. 50-54 High Back Seater New Buses and 100 Nos. 32-35 Seater New Buses for Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB).
The main objective of this project is to replace the over 15 year old bus fleet in order to maintain the present operation level of SLTB without depleting rural routes.
Accordingly, with the approval of the cabinet of Ministers, the GOSL has decided to utilize the funds available in an existing Indian Line of Credit for procurement buses which is a concessionary financing facility.
In light of this, the Government of India has agreed to allocate USD 15.03 million in this regard from the same Credit Line. At the moment, the pre qualification process has been undertaken prior to commencement of the tendering process.
Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Bandula Gunawardena said 500 new buses will be put into operation for public transport this year.
The Minister made this disclosure while speaking at an event held at Battaramulla Japanese Friendship Path today to distribute 75 new buses received by the country under the Indian loan scheme to depots across the island.
Speaking at this year’s distribution program, Minister Gunawardena said 75 modern buses manufactured to suit the condition of roads in rural areas will join the transport system.
The buses worth about Rs. 10 million have been given to Sri Lanka under the Indian Loan Scheme with the support of the Government of India.
He said arrangements will be made to distribute another batch of buses received under the project to depots all over the island on the occasion of the 75th National Independence Day under the patronage of the President.
These buses have been allocated to depots representing all areas including Northern and Eastern provinces.
“We have planned to add 500 new buses for public transport in the year 2023,” the Minister said.
Representing the Government of India, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, State Minister of Transport Lasantha Alagiyawanna, State Minister of Highways Siripala Gamlath, State Ministers Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Shanta Bandara, Dilum Amunugama and a group of MPs and Ministry Secretaries attended this event. .
The total government expenditure on the transport sector decreased by 9.3 percent to Rs.12,320 million during the first four months of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021. Rs. 9,190 million and Rs. 3,130 million has been spent on recurrent and capital expenditure, respectively.
During the first four months of 2022, the total expenditure incurred by the Government on the bus transportation was Rs. 2,850 million which has been spent on welfare services such as operating SLTB buses on economically unprofitable routes, issuing school and higher education season tickets and bus passes to the Armed Forces.