Sri Lanka private bus service in turmoil, must be permitted to refuel anywhere: PBOA

ECONOMYNEXT –  Some 5,000 buses in Sri Lanka’s private bus service are no longer in operation due to the country’s economic situation and the 11,000 buses that are still running can benefit from the fuel thus saved if the government permits them to refuel from any station, Private Bus Owners’ Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said.

Sri Lanka’s fuel quota allocation process is hampering the smooth operation of the country’s private bus service, Wijeratne told EconomyNext on Monday September 19.

“The allocation of fuel to the transport industry is not an efficient or fair allocation,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s prevailing currency crisis has pushed the island nation to ration fuel and sell petrol and diesel through a QR code-enabled quota system.

Private bus drivers are expected to fill up their buses at Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) depots.

Wijeratne said that buses must be allowed to fill up outside this system to ensure an efficient service.

Sri Lanka has 107 SLTB depots island-wide which dispense fuel as per the requirement of the transport providers.

With difficulties posed to the transport industry such as rising fuel prices, rationing and escalating spare part prices, has resulted in many leaving the industry due to instability in market conditions.

“More than 5,000 buses are no longer running, because of uncertainties in the industry. So with the number of buses leaving the industry, fuel is being saved as there are fewer buses to fill. That fuel can be issued to buses that are running,” said Wijeratne. (Colombo/Sep19/2022)

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