Pre-paid Card System In Buses Hits A Snag Due To Corrupt Officials

In a controversial move, the Western Province Road Passenger Transport Authority has decided to replace the pre-paid card system it was planning to implement with a different mechanism, doing away with the previous system introduced by Chairman of Lisvin Trading, Upali de Silva.

This program was introduced in the Western Province with the support of the National Transport Commission and a pilot project was carried out using group of students at Musaeus College, Colombo. This pilot project, according to sources of the Provincial transport authority, also proved to be successful.

According to the system, passengers could purchase a card which could be topped up as need arises. The money was to be credited directly to the bus owners’ bank accounts and there was to be no transaction between the conductor and the passenger. This could have been used to eliminate difficulties to passengers and also made it impossible for the bus drivers and conductors to cheat money out of the bus owners.

The system was planned to give additional benefits to both the employees in the bus service and the passengers with the support of the banks.

It is calculated that 12 million passengers use bus services in Sri Lanka. The average expenditure of one of them would have been Rs. 3500 per month. By crediting such an amount at once the banks also could get a huge amount of money and the interest of the bank accounts could have covered for a sudden rise in fuel prices or other emergencies.

However, it is learnt certain official of the transport authority had sought a colossal amount of money from the businessman who introduced the scheme as underhand commission. 

As the local businessman had refused to pay underhand commission, the authorities had started negotiations with another party to introduce a similar scheme at a higher cost.
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