Claiming that the Railway Department had incurred a loss of about Rs. 10 billion during recent years, Transport Minister Bandula Gunwardane said train fares should be revised to minimise the loss.
He told Parliament that a policy decision should be taken to adjust the train fares to less than one-third of the bus fares.
Responding to a question by SJB MP Ashok Abeysinghe, the Minister said the Railway Department had earned an income of Rs. 2.6 billion in 2021 whereas Rs. 2.3 billion has been paid as overtime payments and Rs. 7 billion as salaries.
“The total loss incurred by the Railway Department in 2021 is Rs. 10 billion,” he said.
The Minister said inefficiency, fraud and corruption in the Railway Department should be stopped while revising the train fares so as to minimise the loss.
“We are taking steps to digitize the issue of tickets and seat reservations within three months to increase efficiency and minimise fraud and corruption. The train fare should also be revised. A policy decision should be taken to adjust train fares to less than one-third of the bus fare,” he said.
He also said steps were being taken to convert the Railway Department to an authority so as to minimise the loss.
“The decision-making process in a Department setting is so complex. It does not suit a commercial institution like the Railway Department,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)
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