Sri Lanka Transport Board’s (SLTB) Polonnaruwa Depot won the award for the most profitable depot in Sri Lanka and the Rajarata region won the award for being the most profitable region of the SLTB in Sri Lanka. The performance evaluation award ceremony held by the Transport and Highways Ministry to commemorate World Public Transport Day 2023 was held where Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana joined a special observation tour of the depots to appreciate the commitment of the staff.
The Minister told the staff :”I would like to commend all those who contributed to earning a profit of more than Rs.100 million in the Polonaruwa depot and Rs.300 million in Rajarata Regional Office overcoming many challenges faced throughout last year. It is an example for other depots in Sri Lanka. The staff together have proved that nothing is impossible through their determination, dedication and commitment. Through this kind of commitment, there is a possibility of rebuilding any fallen institution.
“Making the most of the resources available to them, through efficient management, this depot has been successful on two main points. This kinds of effectiveness can be achieved by minimizing costs as much as possible and increasing profits as much as possible. It is not possible for a single person to do it. Management and technology with proper guidance are needed for that. New technology should be used to further enhance the progress of the organization. Through this, there is a possibility of doubling the profit by next year. Issuing tickets must be digitized so that payments can be made through QR or cards. GPS technology should be used to monitor the running of buses. Today, developed countries such as the United States of America have reached the stage of using artificial intelligence to run buses without drivers. Today’s world has changed much more than we think.
“In the past, I had the opportunity to participate in several international conferences discussing sustainable transportation methods. All of them discussed the conversion of public transport to an electric system by the year 2030. Many countries including India, China, and Korea have now taken steps to convert trains to electricity.
“Political organizations can recite memorized theories, without doing anything practically. We have fallen far behind the rest of the world. An electric three-wheeler can be run for less than one rupee per kilometre. Due to all these factors, we hope that 2024 will be the year of e-motoring.
It is our hope as the Ministry of Transport to become a country that manufactures and exports electric bicycles and tricycles. For that purpose, the Ceylon Transport Board has started a pilot project of running 200 electric buses in the Western Province.
Accordingly, it will be possible to provide surplus diesel buses in the Western Province to Rajarata and other provinces of the island.
“By giving an opportunity to re-invest the money saved by efficient depots like this, plans are afoot to acquire 1000 new buses on a lease basis. In honour of this achievement, we hope to provide twenty such luxury buses to the Polonnaruwa depot next year.
“I also make this as an opportunity to pay my respects to the SLTB staff islandwide who have not been involved in trade union actions including strikes that put the public in difficulty, even though there are many professional issues. I request everyone to join hands to build the country without dividing based on narrow ideologies.”
Highways State Minister Siripala Gamlath, Polonnaruwa District Development Committee Chairman, MP Jagath Samarawickrama, Former North Central Province Chief Minister Ranjith Samarakoon, Sri Lanka Transport Board Chairman Lalith de Alwis and Railway Department and Road Development Authority officials attended.