Train fares need review to meet expenses - Minister | Daily News

Train fares need review to meet expenses - Minister

Transport, Highways and Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that discussions are underway to formulate a common policy for train fares to be set at least at half the price of bus fares.

He called for the implementation of a national policy to determine train fares. The Minister told parliament yesterday that with the recent diesel price hike, expenses to operate trains have increased disproportionately.

The Minister said a litre of diesel which was sold at Rs.117 several months ago has increased to over Rs.400.

Responding to a question posed by MP Premanath C.Dolawatte, Minister Gunawardena said that the Ministry is hoping to introduce a new night-time intercity express train between Colombo and Jaffna.

The diesel cost for this journey is nearly Rs.1.3 million, he said, adding that if tickets are priced at Rs.2,000 per passenger and if 500 passengers travel in the train, Sri Lanka Railways will only receive Rs.1 million.

As a result, he said that based on this assessment, the Railway Department will incur a loss of Rs.300,000 per journey. Therefore, the minister said that without increasing fares the Railway Department cannot even breakeven on such train journeys.

The Minister accordingly proposed to revise prices based on bus fares and proposed that the Railway Department can charge 50 percent of the bus fare between two locations.

He pointed out that as expenses have increased considerably it is imperative that train fares be revised to maintain the service.


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