A 100 new buses will be added to the current fleet of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) before the forthcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year festival, said Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma.
Our aim is to provide the best possible service to passengers during the festive season and beyond, said the Minister at the ceremony to mark the distribution of new 50 buses for new routes countrywide including the North and the East to mark the 50th anniversary of the SLTB yesterday at the BMICH.
The Minister said 2008 has been earmarked as the Year of Resurgence of the SLTB.
The Government has spent Rs.300 million for the 100 new buses.
We are dedicated ourselves to implement the National Transport Policy without considering any political colour aiming to provide a satisfactory bus service to the islandwide commuters, he said.
Our dream is to turn SLTB into the most comfortable bus service provider in Sri Lanka. We are committed to re-establish the prestigious SLTB by ensuring it can never be destroyed by anyone.
Not only myself, officials and employees of the SLTB are committed to the continues enhancement and upkeep of the Public transport service.
He noted that the SLTB had totally collapsed due to political swindles that had taken place earlier. A mafia has been created in the SLTB due to these malpractices and large scale frauds.
Though the SLTB was pioneered for its punctual day-to-day operations during the period 1977 to 1980, people had lost their confidence in the state transport service by 2006. The country has felt the need for reviving the SLTB revival. We have a vision about how the transport system of Sri Lanka should be developed in the future before the public.
We are dreaming of a better future of the state transport sector and the gratitude should be extended to the President for the granting of huge allocation from the national budget for transport, he said.
He said the Government spent Rs.270 billion to import oil for the SLTB. It was only Rs.83 billion in 2003. But we spend only Rs.12 billion to provide Samurdhi benefits for recipients.
If we are able to reduce the additional amount which spent for the oil, we will be able to provide samurdhi benefits for 17 years continuously.
It is true that the sate transport sector is not aimed specifically at earning profits but it should not be burden to any one, he added.
Road Passenger Transport Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said that the transport sector has been given priority in the Mahinda Chinthanaya.
We are implementing the national transport policy and marching towards success without any party differences.
We wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the SLTB in a very effective manner.