Minister of Transport Bandula Gunawardena has called for the implementation of a national policy to determine train fares.
Speaking in Parliament today, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said with the recent diesel price hike, expenses to operate trains have increased disproportionally.
The Minister said a litre of diesel which was sold at Rs.117 several months ago has increased to over Rs.400.
Minister Gunawardena noted that the Ministry is hoping to introduce a new night-time intercity express train between Colombo and Jaffna.
He said they will require nearly Rs.1.3 million to cover the diesel cost of one journey.
The Transport Minister said if tickets are priced at Rs.2,000 per passenger and if 500 persons travel in the train, Sri Lanka Railways will only receive Rs.1 million.
He said based on this assessment, the Railway Department will incur a loss of Rs.300,000 per journey.
Minister Bandula Gunawardena noted therefore without an increase in fares, they cannot breakeven on such train journeys.
The Minister accordingly proposed to revise prices based on bus fares.
Minister Gunawardena said the Railway Department can charge 50 percent of the bus fare between two locations.
The Minister said since the expenses have increased exponentially, the train fares must be revised to maintain the service.