Sri Lanka to advance public transportation system

Colombo, Dec 14 (IANS) As Sri Lankan capital Colombo struggles to deal with heavy traffic congestion, the government on Monday said it is set to advance its public transportation system.

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne, speaking at a conference in Colombo, said currently over 500,000 vehicles enter the city on a daily basis which was neither eco-friendly nor an efficient way of getting to work, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said it was necessary for the government to explore investing in Metro systems, which allow for speedy journeys for those living on the outskirts.

“As seen in Bangkok, it is necessary for the government to explore investing in Metro systems,” he said.

“This expands access to human capital for employers, increasing job possibilities for those in the job market. We know that in some Asian cities, you use smart cards as an integrated system to pay for transportation, ” Wickramaratne said.

Vehicle prices have escalated in the island nation due to proposals included in the government’s budget for 2016.

Sri Lanka’s Vehicle Importers’ Association said tax amendments proposed through the 2016 budget would cause the cost of vehicles to go up by 200,000-2.5 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1,400-17,500).

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