By Umesh Moramudali
Minister of Private Transport Services, C.B. Ratnayake, insisted that a combined timetable system would provide a quality transport service to commuters.
Addressing a conference held to increase the competence of the officials of the transport sector, he stressed that the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and private buses need to ply according to combined time- tables.
He noted that most roads in Sri Lanka had been developed and passengers cannot reap these benefits if the buses are not deployed according to a proper time-table.
"At present, the government is taking many measures to enhance the quality of public transport," he said.
In contrast to this view, the General Secretary of the All Ceylon Transport Workers Union (ACTWU), Sepala Liyanage, stressed the combined time-table system should not be implemented until the SLTB has acquired enough buses to compete with the private buses.
"Compared to the 25,000 private buses in the country, SLTB has only 4,500 buses. SLTB should have at least 16,000 buses if the combined time-table is going to work," he said.
Meanwhile, President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA), Gemunu Wijeratne, told Ceylon Today, that while the government says it intends to implement the combined time-table system, these intentions are only restricted to words.
"We as bus owners, extend our full support towards implementing the combined
time-table system. However, due to the lack of coordination between government institutions, it seems that the combined time-table system may not be implemented in the foreseeable future," he said.