Sri Lankan train fare hiked by 90 percent

June 1st, 2008 - 4:32 pm ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, June 1 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government has announced a mammoth 90 percent hike in train fares, media reports here said Sunday. The hike comes a week after increase in petrol and diesel prices in the country. “The minimum fare will be doubled. The charge per kilometre has been increased by 90 percent,” Sunday Times newspaper quoted Sri Lankan Railway’s commercial manager Wijeya Samarasinghe as saying.

Railway officials said an immediate fare hike was inevitable after last week’s increase of petrol and diesel prices by Sri Lankan Rs.30, that led to private bus owners hiking fares by 27.2 percent.

Railway services in the island nation are a popular mode of transport due to their low fares. Most of the state sector employees travel by train, mainly on season tickets to which the increase will also apply.

Train and bus fares were increased even as the government urged more people to use public transport after surveys revealed that as many as 175,000 private vehicles enter Colombo daily.

According to the newspaper report, Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma has said the annual operational cost of the railways was about Rs.10 billion, but it earned only Rs.2.5 billion with the deficit of Rs.7.5 billion being recouped by the treasury.

Annually, Sri Lanka consumes not less than four million tonnes of fuel products and depends 100 percent on imports.

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