The travel restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) a loss of approximately Rs. 80 million per day, Chairperson of the SLTB Kingsley Ranawaka told The Sunday Morning Business.
Following an increase in Covid-19 positive cases, the Government imposed travel restrictions on May 21, and further restrictions extended until June 14 last Wednesday (2) in a bid to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases. Subsequently, the bus and train services within the country faced billions of losses as commuters were forced to forgo public transportation during this period.
Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, Ranawaka said: “Prior to the pandemic, we earned at least Rs. 85 million a day. After the restrictions were imposed due to this pandemic, we now earn only an approximate amount of Rs. 5 million a day.”
Trains and buses were unable to operate at full capacity since the beginning of 2021, as the pandemic continued into the year. According to Ranawaka, this has caused a massive revenue loss. “We were able to provide services for the essential services to carry on during these travel restrictions. This provided us with an income of Rs. 4 to 5 million, in addition to the aforementioned Rs. 5 million.”
The number of mass transportation in operation was cut down when the mobility restrictions were imposed along with an unofficial lockdown that was enforced from May 13. Further, a temporary suspension of public transport followed the islandwide lockdown and mobility restrictions.
Reports stated that the financial performance of the Sri Lanka Railways reduced significantly in 2020 recording a loss of Rs. 10.1 billion in passenger transport.
“However, within four to five months after the situation comes back to normal, we will be able to make back the money we lost and perhaps even make a profit,” Ranawaka disclosed to The Sunday Morning Business.