The COVID task force should take full responsibility if the private bus service collapses, the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) said.
According to LPBOA Chairman Gemunu Wijerathne, the country's private bus operations will be reduced by another 50% by January from its current service.
The private bus service is currently operating incurring heavy losses, he said.
“The COVID task force has warned that using public transport will cause a COVID spread in the community. With that kind of cautioning, people are in fear and they use their own vehicles or use taxi services,” he said.
He stated nearly half of the total fleet of private buses are currently in operation in the country, including the inter provincial services. In terms of expenses, revenue has dropped by half, he said.
“With the lack of passengers, there is no way to continue this service. The prices of accessories such as tyres, tubes, batteries and other spare parts have gone up drastically and we cannot bear the loss further, ” Wijerathne said.
Due to the use of alternative transport methods, road traffic has increased, he said.
The expenses of the bus operators have also increased, and most of the bus operators used to earn their living from this.
If the government does not implement the proposal tendered by the private bus associations, the whole fleet of private buses will grind to a halt by the middle of next year, Wijerathne added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)