The National Transport Commission together with Dialog Axiata presented the future of public transportation services in Sri Lanka with the introduction of the mobile bus ticketing facility yesterday, allowing passengers to pre-book and purchase tickets through the mobile phone.
This innovative new service is implemented under the purview of the National Transport Commission and seats could be reserved through this system on private transport buses plying identified long-haul routes.
Colombo-Badulla, Colombo-Ampara and Colombo-Kataragama are the routes available with this service at the outset and this would be extended to other long distance routes island wide in the near-term.
“The use of technology to enhance the passenger transport experience is a significant step in our national development drive as espoused in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’. This effort will increase passenger convenience, and I’m pleased to have given lead to a programme of this manner. There will no doubt be numerous challenges, but the National Transport Commission together with Dialog will be able to overcome these,” Minister of Private Transport C.B. Rathnayake stated.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Executive, Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya noted: “Dialog strives constantly to empower every aspect of Sri Lankan life and we acknowledge the commitment and encouragement received from the Minister and his staff to make the convergence of technology into the transportation sectors a reality.”
Booking a ticket with a mobile phone is easy. The user simply needs to call the Dialog concierge service hotline, 444, and inform the call centre agent of the destination of travel, time and date and the number of tickets required. The call centre agent can inform the customer of the time table and pricing and an SMS is sent to the customer with a PIN number confirming the booking details. The price would be added to the customer’s bill or credit allocation.
The National Transport Commission office at Bastian Mawatha where the main bus terminal is situated can check a booking at any given time and will receive an e-mail three hours prior to departure of a particular bus confirming the number of mobile bookings, which will be handed over to the conductor of the relevant bus.