Monday, 25 October 2004  
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State bus service to be improved

by Rajmi Manatunga

In a determined move to upgrade and streamline the country's passenger transport service, the Government will embark on a concerted plan to raise the efficiency of the Central Transport Board (CTB) with the blue print already on the drawing boards.

A Transport Ministry spokesman told the Daily News that 10 development programs strategies have already been earmarked to be implemented where the state bus service will be improved in quality and numbers while providing better facilities to CTB employees.

Among the main objectives of the long-term project prepared on Transport Minister Felix Perera's directive are increasing the CTB bus fleet to 10,000 in three phases, providing a reliable and quality bus service to commuters, upgrading CTB depots and minimising financial malpractice in the state bus sector.

In terms of the project, all CTB workshops will be modernised while a central store for spare parts will be established in one wing of the SLCTB head office thus eliminating fraud in the purchase of spare parts.

"According to the present system, the depot adminstration is allowed to purchase the spare parts required for their buses. This has resulted in the fraudulent purchase of low-quality spare parts which causes damage to buses. The new centralised system will stop such fraud," he said.

Other measures to improve the service include the development of infrastructure in CTB depots, setting up a separate central depot with 2,000 buses for long distance services and the commencement of special transport services for schoolchildren and office staff at a concessionary rate.

The project will also see the introduction of a new auditing system at CTB depots and cluster companies and the setting up of a press to print CTB tickets required for every depot in the country to minimise financial malpractice.

"The project also includes a plan to use the present surplus of CTB employees productively without any retrenchment. Accordingly, all employees will receive special training in their particular field of work while steps will be taken to ensure their welfare," the spokesman said.

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