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Sri Lanka car importers say they would back better public transport

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan vehicle importers say they would be supportive of government efforts to improve public bus and rail transport systems as a flood of imported cars clog the roads and worsen traffic jams.

“Ultimately, from a national perspective, this focus on everyone owning a car is not going to work,” claimed Gihan Pilapitiya, chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association representing franchise holders of foreign vehicle brands.

Most people in the world have tried to buy a vehicle ever since the Model T Ford made cars affordable to ordinary workers and it fullfils need for mobility as well as aspirations.

Vehicle importers would back initiatives to modernise public transport and encourage people to shift to bus and rail even though it would appear to go against their own immediate interests, he said.

He did not specify how importers would help.

Multi-storey car parks need to be built at entry points to the capital Colombo combined with shuttle bus services to the city centre, Pilapitiya said, speaking to reporters after the association’s annual general meeting where he was re-elected for another year.

“People should also be encouraged to travel by train,” he added.

Traffic jams have been worsening in the island in recent years as rising incomes and lower duties encouraged a flood of car imports.  (Colombo/August 31 2015)

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