The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association will discontinue bus operations on three routes unless they are provided with adequate space to park buses. The Dam street police station has prohibited Minuwangoda Colombo (265), Gampaha- Colombo (200) and Nittabuwa- Colombo (180) buses from parking at the usual places and has instructed them to park inside the Gunasinghepura bus stand, the LPBOA said.
LPBOA President Gamunu Wijeratne told The Island that buses coming from Gampaha, Minuwangoda and Nittabuwa were being diverted to the Gunasinghepura bus stand and both bus crew and passengers were greatly inconvenienced. The Gunasinghepura bus stand was jam-packed with buses and the addition of three routes inside the stand had caused bigger problem.
He pointed out that although the LPBOA had held several discussions with Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ajith Fonseka, in-charge of Colombo North Central, regarding the order prohibiting parking buses at the usual places the discussions had ended in failure. SSP Fonseka had pointed out that due to security reasons buses arriving from three routes had been instructed not to park at the usual places, but the police had not given an alternative place to park buses.
Wijeratne said that the police had aggravated traffic congestion at Gunasinghepura as a result of diverting all buses through only one entrance of the bus stand. The Dam street police OIC had, on many occasions, scolded the bus crew in abusive language and whenever the bus crew had visited the police station to resolve the problems of bus parking the OIC had treated them shabbily.
Gampaha district Private Bus Owners Association President Lambert Madurage said that the association had gone to SSP Fonseka to resolve the matter in an amicable way, but the association was unable to have even a single discussion with him. The association would have no alternative but to stop the bus operation on the three routes if the present situation continued. Incomes from buses have gone down and commuters are driven from pillar to post. In fact buses are forced to leave within five minutes sometimes without passengers, he said.
Madurage said that the Western Province Road Transport Authority had turned a blind eye to the present problem faced by the bus owners on these three routes. The bus owners had been paying Rs.500 to the road passenger transport authority monthly for the time-keepers records on the log sheets and the authority was supposed to support the LPBOA to resolve the issue.
When The Island contacted SSP Ajith Fonsake over the parking problem and the threatening behaviour of Dam Street police IOC on bus crew, he said that he had already instructed the OIC to discipline himself in dealing with social problems. SSP Fonseka had also received several complaints against Dam street police OIC for using abusive language on bus crew. When asked about whether he would solve the problem without the intervention of the higher authorities, SSP Fonseka said that the President and IGP Victor Perera were well aware of his abilities in discharging duties.