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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2555

Providing bus route permits: A herculean task for National Transport Commission

By K.T.Rajasingham
Colombo, 28 August, (

Latest information reveals that the National Transport Commission has been inundated with requests - not to restart the” Tender System,” in issuing bus route permits in the future.

Earlier, political patronization was the only known criteria in issuing bus route permits. Subsequently, political patronization was severely criticized as this system led to rampant corruption.

It was alleged, lot of money passed through hands, while in the process of issuing the bus route permits. This led to the introduction of the “Tender System”, in issuing the bus routes.

Presently there are about 21 “Super Luxury” bus services from Colombo to Jaffna and back and about 12 Luxury service busses plying in the same areas.

According to the Permit details for the Northern Routes provided by the National Transport Commission, there are about 111 “Semi Luxury” buses plying.

Details as follows-

From Colombo – Jaffna 7, Moratuwa – Kankesanthurai 1, Colombo – Nandikadal 1, Hambantota – Jaffna 2, Badulla – Jaffna 2, Tangalle – Jaffna 2, Colombo – Mannar 13, Talai Mannar – Colombo 2, Kandy – Mannar 1, Kandy Vavuniya 1, Mathugama – Jaffna 2, Diyathalawa – Jaffna 4, (57/87) Colombo – Jaffna 1, Nuwera Eliya – Jaffna 1, (68/18) Katargama – Jaffna 2, (68/580) Katargama – Jaffna 2, Walasamulla – Jaffna 2, Vavuniya – Hambantota 3, Hatton – Jaffna 2, Ampara – Mullaitivu 2, Mannar – Diyathalawa 2, Batticaloa – Jaffna 1, Colombo – Thunukkai 1, Karainagar – Panundura 1, Colombo – Kilinochchi 1, Trincomalee – Jaffna 2, & Vavuniya – Trincomalee 1.

Recently, National Transport Commission has done away with the ‘Semi-Luxury’ busses. In future this category of buses might be termed as normal or else those busses equipped with air condition facility might be branded as the Luxury buses.

Recently, on 20th July this year, National Transport Commission issued Tender Notice No: 27 for a few bus routes and the tender closed on 15 August, and those tender bids were set to be opened up on the same day.

But, according to the latest information, the National Transport Commission suspended the opening up of the tender bids indefinitely, without providing any date.

‘Asian Tribune’ learnt that Secretary to the Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation Mr. G.S. Withanage has instructed to postpone the opening of the tender indefinitely.

The latest developments emerging in the bus transport sector puts the National Transport Commission in a quandary.

The developments leave the Commission to find alternative ways to issue bus routes permits instead of the “Tender System” which was considered best alternative mode instead of ‘Political Patronization’.

- Asian Tribune -

Providing bus route permits:  A herculean task for National Transport Commission
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