The National Transport Commission has taken a decision to include 13 new conditions for the operation of inter-provincial private buses beginning next year.
With the new conditions the number of conditions on the issuance of route permits will go up to 42.
Chairman of the National Transport Commission Dr. Amal Kumarage said that this step was taken to build a better service by the private buses. A separate unit has been set up to address the grievances and complaints of the commuters regarding the buses that do not adhere to the new regulations.
Mr. Kumarage expressed this view at a discussion organized to educate the representatives of the bus operators regarding the new conditions which is a part of a programme to provide the people with a quality transport system, under the direction of Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma.
The chairman further said that a common transport policy applicable to all vehicles will be formulated while the number of buses to transport school children under `Sisu Seriya` will be increased to 550.
It has been included in the new conditions that both doors of the long distance buses should be kept closed while on the road and the buses that charge ordinary fares should not exceed the number of passengers mentioned in the permit. The chairman also said that 80 persons have died by falling from the footboard of the buses during the last year alone. He warned that permits of errant crew members would be cancelled.
According to the new conditions no stickers can be pasted on the front or rear of the bus while additional parts cannot be fixed without the approval of the commuters. An agreement was reached with the representatives of the bus companies to allow the buses to play the Radio only since too loud music is hazardous to commuters. The signboards of the inter-provincial buses should be displayed in all three languages while the intra provincial buses should display their boards in two languages. Only one conductor should be employed in a bus and in terms of the new conditions employing additional conductors is an offence.No new route permits are issued and altering route
Mr. Kumarage said that the commission was vested with powers to work in regard to the CTB buses as well. `When bus fares are increased they will be increased at a higher percentage to cover up the losses incurred by limiting the number of passengers,` he said. Steps will also be taken to ensure that all long distance buses leave Colombo from the same venue.