NJTWDA President, A.D. Alwis said, whatever the decision is, it would be implemented from 14 May. Till then the taxi fare would remain at Rs 50 per kilometre (km), he added.” He said, the decision on the price per km would be taken considering the cost incurred by trishaw drivers.
“As it is, the price of oil is approximately Rs 600 per litre, and the charges for servicing the vehicle are around Rs 4,000, while the increase in fuel prices would also have an impact on professional trishaw drivers.” Alwis said, the burden would be felt severely by trishaw drivers in the outstation areas. The Union has an all-island membership, he said.
The responses of taxi companies, who also had fleets of trishaws, varied. The ‘Budget Taxi,’ said that they would take a decision following a consultation with the Board of Directors. However, the only definite thing was that charges would be increased, it said.
The PickMe cab service, which also has a fleet of three-wheelers, could not be contacted for comment. However, the wheelers run by them had duel meters, one which was an App provided by the Company while the other was used by the driver, who was also the owner for on the run pickups.
The ‘Colombo Taxi’ service said that it would only increase its fare by two rupees. The present charge per km is Rs 45.
Meanwhile, President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA), Gemunu Wijeratne said that they were submitting a proposal to the Government on 14 May requesting a 10 per cent increase in bus fares. The Executive Committee of the Union decided to request for the annual increase usually made in June, to be brought forward with the increase in fuel prices. “We already have an agreement with the Ministry, based on several criteria due to which bus fares should be revised annually. One of them is the fuel price,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Ashok Abeysinghe, reiterated that although private bus owners had an agreement with the Ministry via the National Transport Commission (NTC), the Ministry had no agreement with private trishaw owners or their companies, at present. “Although the Ministry of Transport has through the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) called for all trishaws to have meters and issue a bill, we have not instructed them on their charges per km. However, none of them can take ad hoc decisions without submitting their proposed price increase to the Ministry.”
The Minister, however, said that as with bus fares, a proper regulation was not in place to regulate prices of trishaws or taxi services so that they could be kept in check.