Train fares will rise to 40 to 50 per cent of bus fares, within this month.
General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways, Dhammika Jayasundara, said the increase will reduce the company’s loss by Rs 6,000 million and fuel expenses by Rs 12,000 million. He said the fare increase can be implemented at any time during the month, as Cabinet approval has been granted.
According to Jayasundara, the present train ticket price is about 20 per cent of the current bus fares, and the Railway Department loses around Rs 30 million per day as a result of the present ticket prices.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Bandula Gunawardane directed railway authorities to repair and reuse 250 imported railway carriages that had been out of service for over 25 years. The Minister said this while on an observation tour of the Tantri company yard set up for the repair of railway carriages in Dematagoda. The General Manager of Railways was briefed as well.
Importing a new train carriage costs around Rs 200 million, whereas Tantri, a Dematagoda-based company, repairs a carriage for only Rs 20 million. Even now, the same company has delivered to the Railway Department 200 Romanian railway carriages and power train carriages for repair and operation.
It was emphasised that due to the fuel crisis, an increasing number of commuters have shifted to train transportation.
By Thameenah Razeek