Transport Blues

June 26, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s private bus sector can push up revenues by about 20 percent by cutting leakages with an online ticket machine, but the subsidy-happy operators want taxpayer support help them earn bigger profits. “On average about daily ticket collection are lost due to leakages in the system,” Amal S Kumarage, an academic specializing in transport and Sri Lankan Moratuwa University told a forum in Colombo.

“There is a 20 to 25 leakage on buses that are operated by the private sector. On public sector buses it’s about 10 to 15 percent.”

Kumarage was speaking at a forum on ‘the possibility of using mobile payments in public transport organized by LIRNEasia and the Pathfinder Foundation, two policy research bodies based in Colombo.

Travelling without tickets, travelling longer distance than the distance paid for and the bus ticket collector or ‘conductor’ siphoning cash are the main reasons for revenue leakages in the transport sector, Kumarage said.

“The daily collection (on average) is about 175 million rupees,” Kumarage said.

“You put about everything together your loss is over 25 to 30 million (rupees) a day.” About 75 percent of buses on the road belong to the private sector, while