Bus strike-Failure: Minster, Success: ACPBWA

The bus strike which was launched last night by the All Ceylon Private Bus Workers Association (ACPBWA) against new traffic fines was a failure, Transport Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said today.

However, ACPBWA claimed 80 per cent of buses were not operated during the strike.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry he said after new traffic fines were passed in Parliament and Gazetted, no one could oppose it.

“The Ministry had given a time period to place objections. Several bus associations agreed with the new traffic rules,” the Minister said.

“Therefore, after implementing the traffic fines, no one can make objections. One cannot change any Act after passed in Parliament,” he said.

“The bus strike was in effect only in certain routes in the Western Province and the Southern Province. They planned to hold the strike in nine Provinces,” he said.

He said more Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses would be deployed in the evening for the convenience of the people.

“If the SLTB buses were not sufficient, we would request the Army to provide buses,” he said.

Traffic fines were amended in 2005 and the recent amendment was effected after thirteen years.

“During the 13 years the economy developed, salaries increased and accordingly the traffic fines revision was fare,” he said.

“Those who protest against the new traffic fines want to get away from punishments after committing traffic offences. Therefore, traffic fines were very reasonable and no need to remove them,” he said. 

Meanwhile, ACPBWA Convener U.K Kumararathna Renuka said 80 per cent of private buses were not operated during the strike.

“Only 20 per cent of the private buses were operated. Ten per cent of buses were operated under the influence of bus owners and the remaining ten per cent was operated to find their daily earnings. Most of the buses were operated by the bus owners,” he said.

The private buses, which were forced to operate by the owners, did not care about the new traffic fines, Mr Kumararathna said.

Because of the strike people in nine districts, including Galle, Matara, Aluthgama and Matugama, were affected, he said. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)