General Manager of the Railway has proposed a threefold hike in the travel fare if the loss making Sri Lankan Railway is to be salvaged. The Railway incurs a loss of 42 cents for every passenger per kilometer. The Railway charges 48 cents from a passenger per kilometer. However, the General Manager of the Railway Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan told Lakbima that rail fare should be increased at least up to 90 cents per kilometer.
He said that he had already presented the proposal to the Government for increase in rail fare and that he was awaiting a response. He added “we do not want to want a further burden the people by increasing rail fare, but if we need a modern and effective transport system, we must pay a higher fare, ‘ he said.
“Apparently we need 720 carriages altogether to provide a better railway service, but currently we don’t have even 100 carriages”, he said. The Railway has taken delivery of the first batch of 25 carriages, which were imported from China. This is part of the purchase of a total of 100 railway compartments from China. Another batch of 25 carriages will be shipped next week and altogether 100 of carriages will be received before the end of this year, Dr. Gunaruwan also said.
Two carriages have already been allocated to the Kandy intercity trains and others will be connected to the Ruhunu Kumari and Yaldevi express trains. He added the carriages were made of stainless steel and equipped with state-of-the-art technology of air break system. These carriages, however, can not be driven beyond Nawalapitiya in the up country Railway line and Kelaniweli railway line due to the air break system. Interestingly enough, certain quarters have blamed us for importing low quality carriages. But, the truth is that these carriages are equipped with air break systems which is the latest technology in railway carriages,” he said.
Source: Lakbima News