June 12, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should switch to mass urban transport to combat traffic congestion, and start a powerful umbrella organization to implement projects, a Sri Lankan-born professional heading a big US transport utility has advocated. The island should also build concrete roads, said Walter Wickramasinghe, Vice President and Director of Management of Metropolitan Transit Authority, in Houston, Texas, one of the largest transportation and regional development agencies in the United States.
Transport authorities should also have good public relations and hike fares gradually after making improvements commuters can feel, he told a seminar on Transportation Solutions for Rapid Economic Growth’ organised by the Chamber of Construction Industry.
Wickramasinghe, a professional engineer with 30 years of experience in developing and operating mass transportation projects, said he himself travels to and from work by bus.
“I’m in the business (of transportation). So I’ve got to know what’s going on.”
Increasing fares was a “touchy issue” all over the world and the best approach was for the authorities to use good public relations and present such increases so that the commuters being asked to pay