ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with a private technology group to set up a circulator route in the city using modern buses without a conductor in bid to upgrade public transport, Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.
“We are in discussions with a technology group in the Trace City to start a modern city bus service,” Minister Gunawardana told EconomyNext.
“The buses will only have a driver. But the current laws do not allow public buses to be operated without a conductor. Se we have to change the law.”
Circulator buses typically operate on both directions on a circular route, they have simplified charging. Two routes may cross each other, somewhat similar to the way MRT systems work.
Sri Lanka has a tightly regulated public bus service with a bewildering array of routes. State regulations typically stifle innovation. Due to tight regulations including price regulation, Sri Lanka’s three wheeler taxis have boomed.
Until a recent currency collapse, the worst in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank, which has destroyed living standards of the people more than in previous crises, buses were losing customers to three wheeler taxi’s and private transport, mostly motor-cycles.
Quality of public buses is low – except on expressways – due to regulated pricing and a rigid licensing system, critics say.
Three wheeler taxis on the other hand have rapidly innovated into ride sharing. (Colombo/Oct27/2022)