Sri Lanka doubles fines for ticketless rail travel

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has doubled the fine for passengers caught travelling without tickets on the state railway, which has been incurring losses year after year as fares have not been increased.

Government spokesman Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said the Cabinet of Ministers had approved a proposal by Minister of Transport Nimal Siripala de Silva to double the existing maximum fine to Rs3,000.

“The railway service offers transport facilities to passengers at extremely concessionary rates,” he told a news conference.

“But a considerable number of passengers don’t pay the fare for passenger tickets and ride in carriages of higher classes than that they have paid for.”

Revenue from increased fines for offences will help improve safety and efficiency of the railway service and increase its income, while discouraging passengers who travel without paying the fare.

Operational loses at Sri Lanka Railways fell 30 percent to Rs7.7 billion in 2015 from the year before.

Fares have remained unchanged even though urgent modernisation was needed to improve service, the Central Bank has said.

It has called for market-oriented fare schemes to improve the financial position of Sri Lanka Railways.
(COLOMBO, May 12 2016)

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