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Govt not decided on increase of bus, train fares

by Rajmi Manatunga

State Transport Minister Piyasoma Upali assured yesterday that the government has not decided to increase bus fares and train fares. The Minister told a press conference that an increase of bus fares will have to be decided only after taking into considerations other factors like the diesel price and the price of spare parts.

"According to the government's transport policy, bus fares should be revised at least once a year. Such a revision will have to be decided by the National Transport Commission (NTC) and approved by the Cabinet," the Minister said adding that a proposal to increase CTB bus fares has also been forwarded to the Cabinet.

However, matters are still at the discussion stage and the government did not want to burden the people further by increasing fares in the near future, he said.

Attention has also been drawn to a possible train fare hike as a measure to upgrade the service which is running at a loss of Rs 1.2 billion. Accordingly, it has been proposed to increase fares of long distance services by 40 per cent and urban services by 60 per cent.

The proposals forwarded to the Economic Reform Committee will be presented to the Cabinet for approval," the Minister said. Fares in the state bus service have not been revised since 1995 despite constant hikes in the diesel price. During the past two years alone the price of diesel had gone up by three rupees.

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