Bus Losses

Apr 15, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s over-staffed state-run bus services lost 8.4 billion rupees in 2010, up 4.9 percent from the 8.4 billion rupees a year earlier, eating up billions of rupees of taxes extracted from the people from other means. There was no mention of depreciation charges. The SLTB owned 7,746 buses and operated an average of 4,441 busses in the year.

The number of privately owned buses rose 6.1 percent to 19,805 and the average number of buses increased to 15,884, the Central Bank report said.

Operated kilometers by private operators had increased 21.6 percent and passenger kilometers also rose by the same about. Sri Lanka has a fragmented private bus service and attempts to create larger units to operate routes have so far failed.

Sri Lanka Transport Board, originally started by violating the property rights of citizens and forcibly ‘nationalizing’ assets, is a long-standing symbol of the state speculating with people’s money on businesses and losing heavily.

The SLTB also gives cut rate ‘season tickets’ to state workers. In 2010, a 1.6 billion rupee subsidy was given to the bus utility to operate ‘uneconomic’ routes and school bus services, the Central Bank’s annual report said.

It was also given 5.