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Sri Lanka looks to advance public transportation to minimize private vehicles

Staff writer |
The Sri Lankan government said that it is looking to advance its public transportation system as the capital battles to deal with heavy traffic congestion.

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Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne, speaking at a Mayor's Conference in Colombo, said that currently over 500,000 vehicles enter the city on a daily basis which was neither eco-friendly nor an efficient way of getting to work.

He said that it was necessary for the government to explore investing in metro systems, which allows for speedy journeys for those living in the outstations.

"As seen in Bangkok, it is necessary for the government to explore investing metro systems," he said.

"This expands access to human capital for employers, increasing job possibilities for those in the job market. We know that in some Asian cities you use smart cards as an integrated system to pay for transportation. Why can this not be introduced in Colombo over the next 5-year period?"

Vehicle prices have seen a rise in the island nation due to proposals included in the government's budget for 2016.

Sri Lanka's Vehicle Importers' Association said that tax amendments proposed through the 2016 budget would cause the cost of vehicles to go up by 200,000 rupees (1,400 U.S. dollars) up to 2.5 million rupees (17,500 USD).

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