The Minister made the announcement at an event held to launch an online bus seat reservation portal for the SLTB. The event was held at the Central Bus Stand in Fort today. The facility will enable seat reservations for long-distance bus services through an online portal, through mobile and through fixed phone lines. Passengers could reserve their tickets by logging on to sltb.express.lk or via its mobile app.
Speaking at the occasion the Minister of Transport noted that they are planning on launching a similar platform for Sri Lanka railway with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank. Nimal Siripala de Silva expressed his intention of cleaning up the bus service and saving it from thugs, how does he expect to do this, by giving uniforms to all SLTB bus workers.
The Minister also noted that he is ready to bring in laws which will turn to ride a bus without a ticket into a “misuse of public property” offence. According to the Minister, this is a non-bailable offence. If this law is implemented the commuters who do not buy tickets will have to remain in remand custody until their hearing concludes.
Reform seemed to be the overarching theme of the day, while the minister was focusing on improving the quality of service provided by the employees, Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe addressing a media briefing at Sirikotha revealed details of the new buses that the SLTB plans to import.
Abeysinghe revealed the following details
- 54 seat buses (Indian) – 400 units
- 35 seat buses (Indian) – 100 units
- Low floor buses (Hungary) – 1000 units
- Hybrid buses – 750 units
- Electric buses – 250 units
The Deputy Minister stated proudly that the SLTB which had a debt of Rs. 15bn in 2015, recorded a profit of Rs 1.68bn last year. Abeysinghe noted that they returned vast amounts of unused SLTB land to the treasury and used this money to make EPF and gratuity payments that had not been made from 2010 – 2014.