Public inconvenienced by train delays

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 Thousands of commuters island-wide were gravely inconvenienced owing to train delays and the cancellation of some trains yesterday (15), following the four-day Poson holiday.

Commuters said, they had a terrible time travelling on the Kelani Valley line. One train was cancelled and resulted in a jumble of the train schedule with the addition of two new trains, leaving commuters behind.

The trains were so crowded that passengers could not even use the restroom or get on the platform.

Passengers with confirmed tickets were having difficulty boarding the train because the entrances were blocked with commuters who had no confirmed reservations, a commuter said.

Meanwhile, on the Kelani Valley Railway Line, a train service for office and students from Padukka to Colombo Fort began at 6.20 a.m. yesterday (15). The office and school transport train, which left Padukka Waga Railway Station at 8.12 a.m., arrived at Colombo Fort Railway Station. In addition, a train service from Colombo Fort to Kandy began yesterday at 5.20 a.m. Every Friday at 10.00 p.m., a night train will ply from Mt. Lavinia to Jaffna and Kankesanthurai. According to Sri Lanka Railways, as bus fares rise and more people return after the four-day Poson holiday, commuter numbers increased yesterday (15). A 20 per cent increase in commuters resulted in overcrowding and congestion and verbal confrontation between commuters and staff ensued.

Meanwhile, the public are bound to be inconvenienced in the coming days as private bus owners warned that islandwide bus operations will have to be halted tomorrow (17) unless the authorities take steps to provide them with diesel within the next two days.

Addressing the media, yesterday (15) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President, Gemunu Wijerathne said that only 20 per cent of private buses were operating until yesterday (15), which is around 4,000 buses and it will decrease to 3,000 by tomorrow due to the fuel crisis. “Bus routes which usually have 25 buses are running with just two buses currently. Private buses received diesel through the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) depots in Colombo and several other areas until Monday, but it did not happen since then. Bus owners will be able to run buses from next Monday if adequate fuel is given”, he said.

BY Thameenah Razeek and Nabiya Vaffoor