A boost for buses

Published : 9:45 am  March 23, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (443) reads | 

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By Thilanka Kanakarathna
The State wasted close to Rs. 1bn each day due to heavy traffic experienced across the island, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western development said yesterday.


Speaking at a media briefing, subject Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the Government had allocated more than 45 percent of its expenditure on constructing highways and developing existing road networks.


“It allocated four percent for health and six percent for education. Despite these high figures, we have not been able to reduce the traffic congestion,” he said.


He said that his Ministry had taken measures to develop public transportation services in the country in line with these issues.
The Minister however said that developing the sector would be for nothing if proper road discipline was not inculcated among motorists.
Apart from the priority lane project the Ministry hoped to introduce a new passenger bus service in a bid to attract more people to use public transportation instead of using their own vehicles. “The Government is set to construct two main transportation centres in Battaramulla and Fort and six other sub centres in Panadura, Moratuwa, Piliyandala, Kottawa, Kadawatha and at the 18th Mile Post,” he said. Speaking of the ‘Monorail’ project, Ranawaka said it would not be implemented as recent studies found it to be too costly. The government would instead introduce the light train system as a substitute, he said.


“We believe that light trains would make a huge impact on reducing the traffic congestion,” he said.


Meanwhile, The Ministry officially stated that the priority lane pilot project had been concluded as of yesterday and confirmed the project was a success. The priority lane would be implemented for transport services for school children and employees as well.
A recent census also found that 42 percent bus passengers, 37 percent private vehicle users and 40 percent of the three- wheeler drivers favoured the project.


Releasing a statement the Lanka Private Bus Owner’s Association expressed their displeasure for concluding the pilot project and said they would follow the practice during the peak hours of 6.30am to 11.00 am.


Ranawaka also said the Kandy road, Malabe, Low level road and the 120 route was identified as routes with heavy traffic congestion.
The road leading from Malabe to Battaramulla via Senanayake Junction was identified as the most congested road in Colombo. The ministry is hoping to implement the tested models in these areas as soon as possible.