Electronic Ticketing System for Public Transport Set to Launch by Year’s End- Ministry Secretary

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Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Highways Eng. Ranjith Ganganath Rubasinghe announced that an electronic ticketing system for public transport services, including trains, will be introduced by the end of this year.

Addressing the press briefing titled “Two Years of Progress and Advancement” held at the Presidential Media Centre Monday (08), the Secretary noted that despite the economic crisis, the government has allocated Rs.390 billion over the past two years for road development projects initiated before 2022. Of this amount, Rs.300 billion has been paid to contractors, and Rs.90 billion has been used for debt repayment.

Addressing the media personnel, Eng. Ganganath further elaborated;

Despite the economic crisis the country has faced, the government has allocated Rs.90 billion over the past two years solely for road development projects initiated before 2022. Of this amount, Rs.300 billion has been spent on contractors, and Rs.90 billion has been used for debt payments.

It is important to note that the success of the government’s debt restructuring program has been particularly satisfactory for the Ministry of Highways. This success will enable the restart of many projects that were halted during the last crisis. Specially, discussions have already begun for the early commencement of Phase 1 of the Central Expressway.

Additionally, Phases 2 and 3 of the Central Expressway and the Ruwanpura Expressway project are expected to begin soon, with bilateral discussions underway regarding the completion of the elevated highways project in Athurugiriya, through financial investments. Public-private partnership investments are anticipated for these projects.

Additionally, an electronic ticketing system for public transport services, including trains, is planned to be introduced before the end of this year. The entire highway toll payment system will also be made electronic within a few months.

Furthermore, preliminary discussions have been held with the Government of Japan regarding updates to investments for the Light Railway Project (LRT). Simultaneously, negotiations are ongoing with the governments of China, India, and Japan for several new projects.

As a result, plans have been implemented to grow the transport and highway sector by 10%-15% over the next five years.

Director General of the Road Development Authority (RDA), S.P.M. Suriya Bandara;

The construction of the second phase of the flyover over the railway line connecting Kompannavidiya, Justice Akbar Mawatha, and Uttarananda Mawatha will be completed and handed over to the public next week. Additionally, the Kohuwala flyover is scheduled to be opened to the public next week. The work on the harbor entrance runway is also expected to be completed in the first half of September.

Moreover, thousands of projects are being implemented across the country under the Road Development Authority. Among these, 320 km of rural roads have been completed under the 1,000 km of rural roads project, which began last February, with the remaining roads set to be completed in August.

General Manager (Acting), Railways, Sanjaya Mudalige;

We have provided the opportunity for people to lease the land owned by the Department of railways, which totals around 12,000 acres. Residents currently occupying these lands, whether with or without permission, can now register to obtain a tax deed. Legal action will be taken against those who do not register, and they will be removed from the premises.
Additionally, the modernization of the Mahawa-Omanthai railway line will be completed in August, and the freight train service from Beliatta to Colombo will commence on the 15. This service will be available to farmers, businessmen, and others transporting goods to Colombo.

Plans are also underway to develop railway stations along the coastal line as multipurpose projects in collaboration with the private sector. Six railway stations, including kollupitiya and Bambalapitiya, are currently being developed accordingly.

To meet the demand for train engines, the Government of India has agreed to donate 20 train engines, with the first batch expected to arrive within two months.

National Transport Commission Chairman, Shashi Welgama;

Under the National Transport Commission Act, we can currently regulate only buses. However, the Act has been amended to include the regulation of three-wheelers, school and office transport services, taxis, and more. Additionally, through the ‘Sisu Sariya’ program, we provide transport facilities for around 110,000 children across about 5,000 schools for social welfare. This initiative also extends transportation services to government and private institutions, helping to reduce urban traffic congestion, fuel consumption, and environmental pollution.

Furthermore, by offering transportation facilities to people in remote rural areas through the ‘Gami Sariya’ program, we aim to improve their standard of living. We are also preparing and implementing schedules for inter-provincial buses. The public can contact the customer care unit at 0712555555 and 1955 for assistance. This service allows passengers to file complaints and obtain information related to passenger transportation services.

Chairman of Ceylon Transport Board, Lalith de Alwis;

Every day, our buses serve around 1.2 million passengers through 5,500 trips, playing a crucial role in public transportation. With a strategic focus on digitization, we aim to completely eliminate revenue

losses. Last year, we successfully refurbished 400 buses, with plans to refurbish an additional 400 this year. The Cabinet’s approval of 1,000 new buses has prompted immediate procurement efforts to acquire 400 buses without delay.

In addition to regular services, we offer subsidized bus fares for school and technical college students, operating 811 buses for school routes and 890 for other services daily.

Our upcoming initiatives include the introduction of electric buses to enhance innovation in public transport, leveraging modern technology to streamline fleet operations and improve passenger information services. These efforts are part of our comprehensive strategy to address climate change.

Passengers already benefit from online seat reservations and access to long-distance service timetables via the internet. We are planning to roll out further digital services in the near future.

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