Promoting Multimodal Transport in Sri Lanka

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How the Public Transportation Become a Sustainable Solution for the System

Sri Lanka is gradually increasing the number of private vehicles registered per year, annually. People are moved from public transport to private transportation methods due to various reasons. Comfort, safety, reliability, social status index and readily availability are some of the reasons which motivated people to use private transport methods. As a result of increasing the number of private vehicles on the road the system is facing lots of difficulties. High fuel waste due to traffic jam and high carbon emission are the most important areas to be looked at.

To overcome these problems we need to promote the public transport. Public transport should provide comfort, safety and reliability to attract people. It is not an easy task to facilitate all of them at a very shorter period with respect to the current facilities available in the public transport. Therefore improving comfort, safety and reliability in public transport should be achieved by a long term process. I think promoting the railway can answer to many questions made by the traffic jam on the road. In most of the developed countries, the main mode of public transport is train since it can transport a large number of passengers at a time from one place to another. Train is the most efficient way of transport. But Sri Lankan railway runs in a loss since it is not promoted properly. We should provide more facilities to the railway stations to attract more people such as automated ticketing facilities and automatically updated timetables etc. In foreign countries they provide personal parking facilities for passengers. Then people can reach the station by their own vehicle, park it there and get in to the train. It is somewhat similar to the “Park and Ride” system in Sri Lanka. I think this concept should be promoted to expect a sustainable growth in the public transportation sector.

Only promoting the railway does not solve the problem. A better connectivity among railway and other modes of transport should be established. For example bus stands and railway stations should be constructed close by so that the passengers can easily transfer from one mode to another within the same public transport network. Then passengers can reduce their transit time. It is an encouragement for them to use the public transport.

Introducing a common ticketing system for public transport is also a good way to attract people to public transport. Passengers should be able to recharge it from a retail shop and then use it either in bus or train. Enhancing the comfort is also a requirement. To achieve these targets, the road infrastructure facilities are also should be developed.

If we can achieve above targets at least to a some extent, we would be able to get the majority of the moving people into the public transport so that high fuel waste due to traffic jam and high carbon emission can be reduced. The travel time is also reduced due to the less traffic on road. These targets should be achieved in the long term gradually, so that the public transportation will become a sustainable solution for the system definitely.

--Gishan Chaturanga 10:54, 19 May 2011 (MDT)