What is a realistic plan? Shall we say to reduce the loss to Rs4B in 2013, and Rs2B in 2014 and a break even in 2015, whilst adding 1000 buses to the fleet in 2013, to take the total buses to 6,000. Remember that they employ a staggering 35,000 people who at an average wage of Rs30,000 a month including their EPF/ETF or pension benefits alone amounts to a staggering Rs12.6Billion!
The shortfall is provided by the Treasury just as the CEB and the SL Petroleum Corporation is also subsidized by them, to a much greater degree.
I would recommend the following goals.
1 Whilst bringing down 1000 new buses, in 2013 the intention is to have 5,000 working buses in good operating condition daily, to a good standard running at any one time.
2 In order to be more practical the cadre MUST be reduced to 30,000 by the end of 2013 by natural retirements and non extension of service and to 25,000 by the end of 2014 and possibly to 20,000 by 2015. This is the only way to improve productivity, whilst compensating workers well for overtime and other extra duties that add to productivity improvements.
3 It is not for the SLTB to make profits, if it primarily serves areas that private buses do not ply on, due them being unprofitable. It is a sad reality all over the world that to serve the far flung communities it is essential to operate some services at a loss.
4 It is better to hive off the loss making routes to a different company and manage them under different guidelines, whilst those buses that will now run on a combined timetable with the private buses, as announced today, be held to a different standard of profitability.
5 The question of using SLTB buses for political purposes MUST be charged to any political party on a time and distance basis, with funds collected in advance and in ensuring existing services are not affected due to this requirement. The charges should also ensure that NO loss is incurred by the SLTB in their use. It is easier said than done, but proper records should be kept of such one off transactions so that better management of this requirement is ensured in future.
6 The structure of the SLTB depots requires urgent change with performance measures to ensure more accountability and improved productivity. The signing off of work sheets must be stopped, by using the now very cheap fingerprinting system for clocking and out to ensure no wages are paid to the thousands staying at home, as at present due to the poor attendance systems in place.
7 All depots should be cleared of all old and unusable buses, by sending them to a central scrapper’s yard so that proper salvage value is obtained, instead of the system at present to sell locally to cronies for low prices.
8 The abuse of use and misuse of diesel, the huge waste in spare parts, especially the fraud taking place on the use of tires and the sale thereof of used tires before their full life is used up and the high cost of retreading that can be halved if the contract is given on an annual basis for a stipulated minimum to a larger re-treader.