General Manager of Railways, Dhammika Jayasundara, claimed a train fare revision of 60 per cent for regular train passenger tickets must be implemented to balance the price range between buses and trains.
He said the Department has been requesting an increase in train fares from the Ministry of Transport since 2021, but the latter has not responded positively.
He also mentioned that a regular train ticket is only 20 per cent of the price of a bus ticket. He said that there is no need to match train ticket prices to bus tickets, but there should be at least a 60 per cent increase.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) claimed that there is a severe shortage of station masters in several railway stations, posing a significant risk to ticket-issuing operations during peak hours.
GM Jayasundara also acknowledged this and said the recruitment process has been halted due to the current crisis, but all exams for recruitments have been completed.
However, he said that they will have to wait until the recruitments are completed, and that for the time being, they will have to manage the operations with the available staff.
According to SLRSMU General Secretary Kasun Chamara, there is currently a severe shortage of station masters to issue tickets. While there should be approximately 1,250 station masters, the current number is approximately 900.
Chamara stated that station masters were last hired through external examinations in 2015 and that only about 30 station masters have been hired internally, which is insufficient.
“Although the examination for station masters recruitment was held about six months ago, those who passed it have yet to be hired. The Railways Department is moving at a glacial pace in this regard,” he added.
By Thameenah Razeek