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Sri Lanka Megapolis plan seen neglecting public transport

By Rohan Gunasekera

Apr 10, 2016 07:37 AM GMT+0530 | 6 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT – A new master plan to develop Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo and adjacent districts into a ‘megapolis’ has ignored professional advice and not given enough priority to modernising public transport like buses, a logistics expert said.

Requirements for improving mobility under the Western Region Megapolis Plan, which envisages transforming the entire Western Province into a megapolis, appear ad hoc and poorly thought out, said Amal Kumarage,  senior professor of the Moratuwa University’s Department of Transport & Logistics Management.

Multi-billion dollar projects are being approved and requests for proposals are to be called even before proper feasibility studies have been completed, he said.

The apparent preference for “supplier-driven” projects, which the former Rajapaksa regime was criticised for, is worrying, Kumarage said.

The megapolis plan is giving preference to expensive transport systems like Light Rail Transit (LRT), a rail-based urban public transport system common in modern cities which is similar to tramways.

This was not a short term priority proposed by transport experts, Kumarage who has thrice served as chairman of the National Transport Commission, told a forum held by Verité Research, a think-tank, to discuss concerns about the megapolis project.

The government has given the go-ahead for a 3.1 billion dollar LRT project in Colombo and its suburbs and also allocated more money for building more roads.

Kumarage said transport experts had proposed giving priority to a relatively lower cost Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system where modern buses travel on dedicated lanes, offering fast, comfortable services which can be implemented more quickly than rail.

Modernising public transport was an urgent requirement to take cars off the roads which are getting increasingly jammed with vehicles, he said.

Colombo is nearing gridlock as higher incomes and lower import taxes on vehicles till recently had led to a flood of car imports, with average vehicle travel speeds reduced to a virtual crawl.
 (COLOMBO, April 10, 2016)



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  1. gamini April 12, 10:29 AM

    No proposed BRT is a good idea. With BRT it will eliminate all bus mudalalis and run with a BRT company. Good idea to eliminate private bus operators. May be bus Gamunu will have some shares in the company

  2. kukka April 12, 07:19 AM

    Harin you are wrong. he actually brought the concept of park and ride using Rs 10 million in katubedda. It was a great success with 4-5 people riding the bus. and they got a huge revenue from 2 vehicles parked. The brightest idea of him.

  3. harin April 11, 06:15 AM

    Hmm . Prof served thrice as the NTC chairman. Interesting. And we are at a garbage bus transport. Sir clearly you had not done anything please let others do when they are trying

  4. kumara April 11, 02:37 AM

    Sound like Crying sour.

  5. Nirmal April 10, 05:19 AM

    Look nobody will go in these stinky trans. They will rather go in a motorcycle. Is the professor going? No he wants other people (poor people) to go. If people who are travelling in cars are to be persuaded to use public transport air-conditioned LRT and MRT is the way to go.BRT may be.

  6. kavan April 10, 08:18 AM

    Why not start with the much cheaper option of putting 3 or 4 times as many trains on the already existing Coastal rail track and Busses to meet the trains at each station

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