No rules for bus cowboys of East

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Commuters complain that the private bus owners of the coastal areas of the Batticaloa and the Ampara districts are not bound by the rules binding the bus operators in other parts of Sri Lanka due to lack of competition from the CTB.
The bus owners here charge as much as they can from commuters and the passengers meekly pay up as they have no other alternative.
There is no authority here to enforce the law on these errant private bus owners of these two coastal districts. Even the Police here who are aware of the problem are turning a blind eye.
A one way trip from Kalmunai to Colombo via Batticaloa in a CTB bus costs Rs 325/- with the booking charge of rupees 20/-, via Randanigala, Kandy rupees 285/-, and via Moneragala, Ratnapura Rs. 310/-, but the private bus owners charge Rs 450/- via Batticaloa and Rs 600/- via Mahiyangana, Kandy. Though the CTB buses are much cheaper, they are few and far between.
There are also some mini-buses with a??fully air conditioneda?? stickers on them operating intercity service via Mahiyangana, Kandy who hardly use the air conditioner and are over packed with additional seats fitted onto them.

Similarly CTB buses charge Rs.315/- from Pottuvil to Colombo via Moneragala, Ratnapura and the private buses charge Rs.800/- for the same journey. The CTB bus fare from Akkaraipattu via Pottuvil, Moneragala, Ratnapura to Colombo is Rs.327/- and the corresponding private bus fare is Rs.600/- and via Batticaloa is Rs.570/-. CTB buses from Kattankudy and Batticaloa charge Rs.290/- and 272 respectively to Colombo whereas the private buses charge Rs.500/- and 450/-. In other areas like Ampara and Polonnaruwa the private bus fare is the same as that of the CTB.
These overcharging buses from the East do not use the private bus stand in Pettah and instead pick up passengers from Maradana Technical College junction and other places in Maradana. It is learnt that several private bus booking centres charge Rs.50/- per single seat which is added on to the commuter fare.
It is estimated that the average income of a person booking seats at the centre near the Technical College with only space for a small table and a chair with a telephone, is as much as rupees 5,000/- a day without any effort, which is very much more than a highly paid government servant or any other high officers in the private sector would earn.

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