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Pericles

Addressing the traffic problem in Sri Lanka.

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This is an interesting piece. 
http://www.ft.lk/opinion/Sustainable-and-broad-minded-solution-for-Colombo-s-traffic/14-674188

Quick Quotes 

"I didn’t want to explain to him that the traffic is created by drivers who drives recklessly and selfishly to reach their destination as fast as possible. They never follow lane discipline, never bother about pedestrians, and they go wherever they can move their vehicle thinking that this is the way to avoid traffic in Sri Lanka."

"An open-minded and well-disciplined public will reduce 50% of self-created traffic jams."

I doubt that is a research backed number, but it will definitely help. 

Some research here. https://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-jams
 

Now why do I bother posting? I can't reform everyone. But here is the hope. By reading this and learning something, it might cause people to modify their own behaviour. I have done a lot of practicing lane discipline. See the problem is, people in traffic are more reactive, they try to wriggle into whatever tiny space they can (watch the tuks) and then find themselves on the wrong lane. Of course, we can't always follow the recommended practice, have to keep moving out of the left lane due to potholes or idiots who parked cars where cars should be moving. But proactively putting yourself in the correct lane to manage your turns will help ease the traffic tremendously. As a small example take the traffic lights in front of Orion City. There is at least 4 lanes there, but cars that can travel straight through the lights are eternally stuck behind people who want to turn but occupy the wrong lanes coz they think they can get their thing done faster by doing so.

In the end, my conclusion is this. When using public property, you do not have a right. You have a duty. This is the mindset I'm gonna have. Hopefully it will inspire others, but at least I'll gonna try it. Can't preach it without practicing it :D

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Sinhalese are people who lived under kings with strict rules.They never knew how to manage and think for themselfs.It is hard coded in their genes.Only way is heavy penalties and imprisonment.

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That’s a good read. Actually, It’s really difficult to change the mindset of Sri Lankan’s. Just look at how many vehicles go in the road with only one passenger even during high traffic times. We cannot really blame them due to the damn level our public transport is in. However, we can try to improve the situation as much as we can. One such way is carpooling.  But, this is not popular among Sri Lankans. There are some carpooling and ridesharing websites as well as Apps but I really don’t think we are using them. I posted on each of these sites offering my ride for sharing several months ago. But only two people called me back. One person’s destination was a bit far from my workplace and hence had to refuse it and the other was a lady and she did not call me back when I said that I travel with my Wife in the morning :D. I even made a post in AL as well. 

So, there are little things we can tryout by over selves to improve the situation. But, very few people are willing to take the initiative it seems.

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On 8/21/2019 at 4:59 PM, LashNeo said:

That’s a good read. Actually, It’s really difficult to change the mindset of Sri Lankan’s. Just look at how many vehicles go in the road with only one passenger even during high traffic times. We cannot really blame them due to the damn level our public transport is in. However, we can try to improve the situation as much as we can. One such way is carpooling.  But, this is not popular among Sri Lankans. There are some carpooling and ridesharing websites as well as Apps but I really don’t think we are using them. I posted on each of these sites offering my ride for sharing several months ago. But only two people called me back. One person’s destination was a bit far from my workplace and hence had to refuse it and the other was a lady and she did not call me back when I said that I travel with my Wife in the morning :D. I even made a post in AL as well. 

 

I would happily take a bus if the service is at least marginally acceptable. Instead we have to travel in lorry chassis buses packed with people, sweating, getting screamed at by conductor while experiencing stunts from the driver.  This is where we can improve. If government or a public private partnership can introduce an air conditioned metro bus service with disciplined drivers/ conductors which has a regularized schedule. I bet many people who spend hours shifting in stuck traffic will switch to bus. Unfortunately, I dont see such an attempt from the government or I have no idea how as general public we can contribute to initiate such a course.

 

On 8/21/2019 at 4:59 PM, LashNeo said:

One such way is carpooling.  But, this is not popular among Sri Lankans. There are some carpooling and ridesharing websites as well as Apps but I really don’t think we are using them. I posted on each of these sites offering my ride for sharing several months ago. But only two people called me back. One person’s destination was a bit far from my workplace and hence had to refuse it and the other was a lady and she did not call me back when I said that I travel with my Wife in the morning :D

 This is a good alternative solution. But we need regular commuting times for this right? I myself has a chaotic work routine with abrupt travel requirements all around the country. So not good to me. 😐 

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It is quite ironic that people in SL pay huge taxes for there vehicles (close to 400%) in certain cases and not get to enjoy driving their vehicle. I personally feel uncomfortable with these bullying thug of bus drivers and annoying crazy three wheelers. the discipline of these parties has to be addressed first of all as these are the people who are actively engaged in public transport and public means lives. they have to be utmost careful at the road but it is right opposite here in Sri Lanka. forget about travelling, getting on and off buses are basically a leap of life that one has to venture in their daily commute. and look at the amount of fatal accidents of recent times that was caused by these sadistic bus drivers. innocent lives were lost. they are actively engaged in bus races in order for them to see the fruits and leave other buses with nothing. the relevant authorities should implement systems where the earning are shared among buses if this menace continues as there is lack of respect for human lives coming from the bus drivers.

Also what is comical is the fact that the person who drives a car and travels in a bus takes the same travel time if you neglect walking and transit times. now the car owners paid taxes when they bought there cars so if they can charge taxes they should equally know how to facilitate cars and should make necessary infrastructure developments to ensure a smooth flow of traffic but sadly this does not happen in this god forsaken country. instead this money is utilized for unproductive projects or to pay this countries never ending debt.

Another under rated factor which i think is causing traffic in this country is that people with lack of necessary skills present, physically incapable and no common sense or knowledge are authorized driver's license. If a personal is not capable of formally obtaining a driver's license they would then resort to bribing the authorities who are greedily waiting.  this is such a under rated fact that no one bothered to focus on. couch potatoes who remain stationary when the light turns green, posh ladies with lavish shades stalling the engine in there prestigious kei cars and senior citizens who cannot see beyond the bonnet are allowed to drive in this country.  if someone travels to the a gulf country and apply for driver's license there it would be clear of what an ardent task the trials to obtain license there are. The local authorities should implement a higher standard in the issuing process of a drivers license  but then no point of setting higher standards if the bribery is not eliminated.

these along with other things are what should be focused if this country has to ensure a better flow of traffic.

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@Pericles

Anyway that we can form a civil organization and lobby authorities to take actions/ or create awareness among general public to be better ethical drivers?

Something like "Sri Lanka Good Drivers Association". Just thinking out loud...

 

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23 hours ago, Klord said:

I would happily take a bus if the service is at least marginally acceptable. Instead we have to travel in lorry chassis buses packed with people, sweating, getting screamed at by conductor while experiencing stunts from the driver.

Back in 2013/2014 I traveled daily on a CTB run Micro/Chinese City bus that plied from Negombo to Moratuwa (240/100)  in the morning and evenings. The fare was twice that of normal bus but it had A/C, ample seating and as these are actual buses (as opposed to Leyland shite ) planned to accommodate large crowds even standing was no big deal. The conductor was a young and polite guy who just gave you tickets and never became a pain in the ass - there were TV's playing ads but no retarded music videos from weirdly named bands like purple-flash, sahara butt with  a weed farmer from thanamalwila  crying   his heart out about some random nangi.  People would read, watch a movie on their tablet and it was actually a very nice ride home.  Sadly there was just one bus on this route (there was another 154/100 bus: Kadawatha-Moratuwa) but since there was just one bus and due to a schedule change i had to give it up. Now I don't travel along that route but that bus disappeared about 3-4 years ago. It was excellent while it lasted.  Just Imagine that bus service was more frequent and regular than 1 bus (people actually called the conductor to find the location of the bus back then) imagine how many car-drivers will use public transport.?  SL will start heading in the right direction when we get rid of the Private bus mafia, and the despicable culture of retarded monkeys that has grown around it. 

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36 minutes ago, matroska said:

Back in 2013/2014 I traveled daily on a CTB run Micro/Chinese City bus that plied from Negombo to Moratuwa (240/100)  in the morning and evenings. The fare was twice that of normal bus but it had A/C, ample seating and as these are actual buses (as opposed to Leyland shite ) planned to accommodate large crowds even standing was no big deal. The conductor was a young and polite guy who just gave you tickets and never became a pain in the ass - there were TV's playing ads but no retarded music videos from weirdly named bands like purple-flash, sahara butt with  a weed farmer from thanamalwila  crying   his heart out about some random nangi.  People would read, watch a movie on their tablet and it was actually a very nice ride home.  Sadly there was just one bus on this route (there was another 154/100 bus: Kadawatha-Moratuwa) but since there was just one bus and due to a schedule change i had to give it up. Now I don't travel along that route but that bus disappeared about 3-4 years ago. It was excellent while it lasted.  Just Imagine that bus service was more frequent and regular than 1 bus (people actually called the conductor to find the location of the bus back then) imagine how many car-drivers will use public transport.?  SL will start heading in the right direction when we get rid of the Private bus mafia, and the despicable culture of retarded monkeys that has grown around it. 

I think that bus was sponsored by Micro. I remember whe it was initially launched we could see peoples legs from outside :huh:

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There are solutions if someone really needs .... Let’s go through below four  suggestions. Government need no big money to invest and only need to implement policies. Business men will invest and riders will pay. 

  1. Fix GPS tracking to all public transport vehicles (including train service) and make it compulsory for route permit
    1. Allow passengers to access for location information. This will encourage people to use the service as they know a bus will come within x minutes. 
    2. Monitor by authorities for speed, waiting times, etc. Develop a formula for service standard and give cut off mark. if they fail to achieve cut-off mark for a particular week, route permit will cancel automatically next week.
    3. If no tracking records, route permit will be cancelled within a week. 
    4. Running without weekly permit (electronic permit which can view by public any time - by smart phone) will be a big offence and fine will be Rs. 100,000. Any police office can view it without new equipment (by his phone).
  2. Stop importing ordinary busses from 1st January 2020.
    1. Ask to replace all private busses imported before 2015 to luxury busses in 2025.
    2. Those imported within 2015-2020 to be replaced when the vehicle age becomes 10 years. Then we have 100% luxury bus fleet on 2030.
    3. 0% import tax for luxury bus imports. 
    4. No harm to bus owners as they could use their existing busses at-least 10 years. Normally their investment will return withing 4 -5 years. 
  3. Stop 3-wheeler import from 1st January 2020. 
    1. Retire all 3-wheelers from 2030. ** This will be very sensitive case. Because majority of 3-wheeler owners are low income people. And need jobs for them. That’s why this cannot do immediately and we have to move it to 2030. 10 years are more than enough for them to adjust. 
    2. Then, this decision will discourage buying 3-wheelers as resale value will become less.
    3. Increasing luxury buses will reduce the requirement of 3-wheeler as well as car taxi services will be taken over the last end transportation link(bus station to home) automatically. 
  4. Big tax for private vehicles use in office hours from 1st January 2021. Let’s say 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. – Rs. 75,000 to 100,000 per month.
    1. People have to come early and go late by office by private vehicle or use public transport. This will encourage more working time as well.
    2. Police could use an app provided to smart phones of officers to catch vehicles, so clear transparency is there. 
    3. Even private companies have to pay tax if they provide vehicles to employees. Definitely they will not pay other than top people.
    4. Taxi vehicles need to take a permit and exempted from the tax.
    5. Different colour number plate for office time tax paid vehicles.
    6. If someone needs to use the vehicle for long journeys for personal (trip, visit relations, etc,) in office hours he needs to fix GPS for his vehicle (one time cost) and register under authority. If police caught, police will report but he could obtain exemption with tracking report.

Hope above having some sense. 

Comments are most welcome......

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On 9/1/2019 at 9:23 AM, gayanath said:

There are solutions if someone really needs .... Let’s go through below four  suggestions. Government need no big money to invest and only need to implement policies. Business men will invest and riders will pay. 

  1. Fix GPS tracking to all public transport vehicles (including train service) and make it compulsory for route permit
    1. Allow passengers to access for location information. This will encourage people to use the service as they know a bus will come within x minutes. 
    2. Monitor by authorities for speed, waiting times, etc. Develop a formula for service standard and give cut off mark. if they fail to achieve cut-off mark for a particular week, route permit will cancel automatically next week.
    3. If no tracking records, route permit will be cancelled within a week. 
    4. Running without weekly permit (electronic permit which can view by public any time - by smart phone) will be a big offence and fine will be Rs. 100,000. Any police office can view it without new equipment (by his phone).
  2. Stop importing ordinary busses from 1st January 2020.
    1. Ask to replace all private busses imported before 2015 to luxury busses in 2025.
    2. Those imported within 2015-2020 to be replaced when the vehicle age becomes 10 years. Then we have 100% luxury bus fleet on 2030.
    3. 0% import tax for luxury bus imports. 
    4. No harm to bus owners as they could use their existing busses at-least 10 years. Normally their investment will return withing 4 -5 years. 
  3. Stop 3-wheeler import from 1st January 2020. 
    1. Retire all 3-wheelers from 2030. ** This will be very sensitive case. Because majority of 3-wheeler owners are low income people. And need jobs for them. That’s why this cannot do immediately and we have to move it to 2030. 10 years are more than enough for them to adjust. 
    2. Then, this decision will discourage buying 3-wheelers as resale value will become less.
    3. Increasing luxury buses will reduce the requirement of 3-wheeler as well as car taxi services will be taken over the last end transportation link(bus station to home) automatically. 
  4. Big tax for private vehicles use in office hours from 1st January 2021. Let’s say 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. – Rs. 75,000 to 100,000 per month.
    1. People have to come early and go late by office by private vehicle or use public transport. This will encourage more working time as well.
    2. Police could use an app provided to smart phones of officers to catch vehicles, so clear transparency is there. 
    3. Even private companies have to pay tax if they provide vehicles to employees. Definitely they will not pay other than top people.
    4. Taxi vehicles need to take a permit and exempted from the tax.
    5. Different colour number plate for office time tax paid vehicles.
    6. If someone needs to use the vehicle for long journeys for personal (trip, visit relations, etc,) in office hours he needs to fix GPS for his vehicle (one time cost) and register under authority. If police caught, police will report but he could obtain exemption with tracking report.

Hope above having some sense. 

Comments are most welcome......

I fully commend the 1,2 & 3 but I have doubts regarding the 4th. I think its too much of a burden to authorities to track and worry about individual cars every day. Maybe I am biased because I also commute to the office by car. I believe usage of personal vehicles will automatically get reduced if there is a quality & reliable public transportation. As noted, I would happily take a bus over shifting in standstill traffic. 

Biggest question here is, how can we influence the government/ authorities to take actions? We can argue/ discuss and come up with possible ground breaking solutions, but they are of no use but just words if they stick to this forum. We should think of a way to convert them in to actions. 

Edited by Klord
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The government was researching on electronic payment systems and a system where the bus would get paid a fixed amount or something for a set number of routes. The idea was that the buses will not have any incentive to overload the buses or race around competing for passengers. Also, even if the bus is empty the operator would be inclined to run the bus at night as they would still get paid.

As for getting out of cars...yes a lot of people I do believe will voluntarily shift out of their cars and in to public transport if the transport system is good. It has been shown over and over again in other countries. However, lessons from other countries is that getting people out of their cars also means there are structural changes that need to be made in salary and other benefit frameworks. For example, I know quite a few companies in Sri Lanka who give car allowances to employees to buy and use a vehicle for work purposes (I suppose no vehicle allowance means no more unnecessary purchase of new vehicles as ell). Some actually give this as a rental fee...so if the employee stops bringing in the car to work, that means the employer has no incentive to give a car allowance as a rental fee or gasoline allowance and such (telling the people to use public transport is operationally cheaper and more efficient). Now the employee essentially looses out in terms of the total value of the package unless the employer is willing to offset the loss in allowances by increasing base salaries.  But then that has tax implications as well (I know allowances are supposed to be declared but hardly anyone does it).

But yes...to a proper public transportation system. I do believe that would help the traffic situation and also force a lot of structural changes along with it.

Another crucial element is driver training.  People and schools need to be re-licensed and properly assessed and all the good for nothing driving schools need to be shut down. The schools and the testing procedure need to be thoroughly regulated and monitored.

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22 hours ago, Devinda_Z said:

This proposal is made focusing a loans or a grant. 

1. Such projects need huge money. 

2. Even though there are nice words, practical scenario is different. 

Sri Lanka needs more clear and easy solutions with less investment of public funds. 

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9 minutes ago, gayanath said:

This proposal is made focusing a loans or a grant. 

1. Such projects need huge money. 

2. Even though there are nice words, practical scenario is different. 

Sri Lanka needs more clear and easy solutions with less investment of public funds. 

Not entirely agreeable with this....what are these easy solutions you are talking about ?

Sri Lankan needs investment in public transport infrastructure....we need smarter roads and crucially a better public transport system. These require investment of public funds or get off the ground as a PPP. 

A lot of people say getting people to follow road rules, etc..will fix a lot of issues and see this as an easy and less expensive solution....that is only partly true..it will fix a lot of issues but it will not be a long term solution. As the population grows, issues like at present will prop-up. In the past we did not feel the lawlessness of the roads that much because the roads were not as congested and with the low amount of resources the police had they were able to somewhat keep the roads flowing relatively better. But now as the population has grown, with car owning people along with it, the same old resource base is simply not cutting it. Ensuring that road rules are enforced requires investment of public funds. The police need proper equipment, proper training, etc...even for the smallest of things (eg....even things like checking the loudness of exhausts...the cops need equipment to do it instead of the j***a$$ methods they follow right now.). 

Then some of the things mentioned to fix private buses like putting cops in buses and putting complaint numbers, spot fining the buses etc...are easy and quick solutions, but then again...short term and not sustainable. I will bet a lot of money that the minute the government does that, then the bus operators are going to go on strike and hold the country hostage, YET AGAIN ! There was a time about 20 years ago that the police tried this (kept plain clothes cops in bus stands etc..to stop overloaded buses after some school kids died by getting squashed between two buses or something)....it worked for sometime...then when the cops stopped doing it the bus operators went back to their old habits. We do not have a sufficiently large police force to be doing this indefinitely. So we need to invest in expanding our police force, or a better investment would be to equip the police with technology that helps them work smarter. Again...takes public funds. 

Public funds towards fixing roads, railway systems, improving police, education, health, food security, etc...is never a bad idea. What is bad is that we let public funds be wasted on luxury cars and foreign trips for a bunch of absolute morons.

 

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20 minutes ago, iRage said:

Sri Lankan needs investment in public transport infrastructure....we need smarter roads and crucially a better public transport system. These require investment of public funds or get off the ground as a PPP. 

Definitely.... fully agreed. 

 

20 minutes ago, iRage said:

A lot of people say getting people to follow road rules, etc..will fix a lot of issues and see this as an easy and less expensive solution

Its not an easy or a clear solution.

20 minutes ago, iRage said:

Then some of the things mentioned to fix private buses like putting cops in buses and putting complaint numbers, spot fining the buses etc...are easy and quick solutions, but then again...short term and not sustainable.

Yes. this is also not a clear and easy solution. 

20 minutes ago, iRage said:

Public funds towards fixing roads, railway systems, improving police, education, health, food security, etc...is never a bad idea. What is bad is that we let public funds be wasted on luxury cars and foreign trips for a bunch of absolute morons.

Agreed. But, with current situation, we have to wait atleast 30 more years.... 

 

So, what are the easy solutions.....?

If you go through my first post, don't you feel those (those 4 items) could be implemented easily with less public funds?. (and easy to maintain and monitoring as well - maintain means maintain the system without shortcuts and loop holes)

 

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Yes, it is a start to a solution. I was not saying they should be avoided. I was opposing the statement about wanting quick and easy solutions without investing public funds.

Investment is needed. Decent private investment is going to be hard to find and short term. So public funds or public private partnerships are needed

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Anything we can do from our side? We cannot expect this or any future government to do any viable thing in this regard. Unless some entity keep pushing them to take actions. 

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2 hours ago, Klord said:

Anything we can do from our side? We cannot expect this or any future government to do any viable thing in this regard. Unless some entity keep pushing them to take actions. 

Yes...practice proper lane discipline (easier said than done)..follow road rules (don't get on junction boxes unless you can pass through, or stop on pedestrian crossings) and extend common decency to others without expecting any acknowledgement/appreciation/anything in return.  Plan your trips so you avoid going back and forth several times a day (sometimes for the smallest of things). Use public transport, bikes or walk as much as you can. Stick to local shops/markets as much as you can.

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