Pilot project by Megapolis Ministry : Priority bus lane to ease traffic congestion | Sunday Observer

Pilot project by Megapolis Ministry : Priority bus lane to ease traffic congestion

The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development with other related agencies will introduce a new bus priority lane on Parliament Road from today, to reduce traffic congestion in Colombo.

Through the new trial project, the government hopes to prioritize developing the public transport system as a short-term strategy to curb traffic congestion in Colombo.

The priority bus lane will be put in place for seven days on a trial basis, the Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka said, introducing the new project.

He said the relevant authorities will look into introducing the widely accepted Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the future if this trial is successful.

The bus lane stretching one kilometre from Rajagiriya junction to the Borella Ayurveda junction along Cotta Road and Sri Jayawardenepura Mawatha will see private and Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses being given precedence with a dedicated lane and priority at traffic lights as well pedestrian crossings where private vehicles will be expected to give way to public transport vehicles.

According to Deputy Director of Traffic Management Unit of the Road Development Authority, Dr. Saman J. Widanapathiranage, a corner bus way has been designed for the task with around 13 bus routes such as the 144, 150, 153, 170, 171, 176, 174 among other major routes are expected to take part in the pilot project.

Widanapathiranage said steps have been taken to ensure trouble-free transit for passengers. “While buses will be given priority, we hope to ensure that travellers in private vehicles will not be inconvenienced either,” he said, adding that he hopes the new pilot program will shed light on possible issues to resolve them in future implementation.

Meanwhile, Minister Ranawaka urged the public, specially private vehicle users to bear with the new plan while adding that such trials are needed to implement policies and plans to develop Sri Lanka’s transport system.

The government is also expected to introduce new and comfortable air conditioned buses, reliable time tables, e-ticketing services and better training for public passenger service providers to ensure road discipline, to improve the public transport service.

According to the Minister, only 50 per cent of the population today use public transport and the increasing use of private vehicles has resulted in the current traffic congestion.