Revolutionizing the transport sector, the Ministry of Transport and the Central Bank played lead roles to get the key stakeholders to sign a four-party agreement to introduce Sri Lanka Transit Card (SLTC) recently. The SLTC initiative, which had been in the drawing board for many years will finally come to light in line with manifesto of the President, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, which proposed a single transport e-ticket system to be introduced in Sri Lanka.
The four-party agreement for the implementation of SLTC was signed amongst Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), National Transport Commission (NTC), People’s Bank and LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd. at the Ministry of Transport on 22nd April 2021 under the distinguished patronage of Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Transport; Hon. Dilum Amunugama, State Minister – Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments and Motor Car Industry, Secretaries and officials of both ministries. Chairman SLTB, Mr. Kingsly Ranawaka, Chairman NTC, Mr. Sashi Welgama, GM/CEO LankaClear Mr. Channa de Silva and Senior DGM, People’s Bank, Mr. K. B. Rajapakse signed the historic agreement representing their respective organizations.
The proposal to implement the SLTC submitted by LankaClear, with approval from Central Bank and support from the Ministry of Transport, received cabinet approval in February 2021. SLTC will be issued by all authorized financial institutions under the National Card Scheme (NCS) facilitated by LankaClear. SLTC will be the first-ever 2in1 card to be introduced in Sri Lanka that comes with a unique stored-value component, in addition to debit/credit feature, built into a single chip card. This unique feature of maintaining a single card to be used across ATMs, POS machines and all Transport sectors provides a citizen with the convenience of using a single card to carryout multiple modes of transactions. In addition, it will save the government a colossal amount of money in terms of printing and distributing cards if it were implemented as a standalone transport card.
At the pilot phase, SLTC will be accepted in public and private buses in selected routes identified by the Ministry of Transport, which will be gradually extended to other routes and to Sri Lanka Railway. This national initiative was aptly backed by the Ministry of Transport and the Central Bank while People’s Bank came on board as the first bank to issue SLTC, which is set to be rolled out in a couple of months. Bank of Ceylon and other state banks are also in the process of joining this national initiative by issuing SLTC within a few months. The SLTB and NTC are in the process of implementing the required technology backend to facilitate this card in public and private buses. LankaClear has come forward to operate the network to facilitate the transactions that are carried out for public transport using SLTC, under the guidance of the Central Bank, free of charge in considering the importance of this national initiative. The Ministry of Transport and NTC has obtained the support of all Provincial Transport Authorities towards this initiative as well as the backing of most private bus owner associations. The initiative has gained acceptance amongst all stakeholders as the scheme has been designed in a way that it is proposed to contribute towards the welfare of bus drivers and conductors, who will play a critical role in the execution of this project.