Business

Ticket gates at train stations: Four Chinese firms shorlisted, bidding opens tomorrow

. ADB disbursed funds worth $ 20 m

. Fifty stations selected for implementation

By Madhusha Thavapalakumar

The technical evaluation of the project of Sri Lanka’s first automated railway ticketing system, or ticketing gates, has reached completion and price bidding is set to open tomorrow (17).

Earlier this year, The Sunday Morning Business exclusively reported that the automated train ticketing system will be implemented islandwide by the end of this year. However, following the Easter tragedy, it is unclear if the original timeline for its implementation is still applicable.

Funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), the $ 20 million project is expected to revolutionise Sri Lanka’s obsolete railway station network with world-class imported machines to provide convenience to long-suffering passengers.

Following the implementation of the automated train ticketing system, commuters will be able to do away with long queues as tickets can be bought in four different ways: an app on the phone, vending machine, electronic card at gates, or purchasing tickets from the counter as usual.

The Sunday Morning Business reliably learnt that the technical evaluation of the tender proposals, which were received earlier this year, was completed recently. Four Chinese companies have been shortlisted through the evaluation to take part in the price bidding which is to begin Monday, 17 June.

The price bid opening will be followed by price evaluation and the whole process will take about three to four weeks where a competitive bidder will be selected. In addition, an evaluation report will also be compiled.

The compiled report will then be sent to ADB, which has already disbursed the full amount of $ 20 million for this project, for its approval. Following the approval, the report will be submitted for Cabinet approval. This entire process is expected to take another three weeks’ time.

As the first phase, the automated ticketing system will be implemented at 50 main railway stations which are already selected. Depending on the response and demand from the passengers, the automated system will then be implemented islandwide.

As Sri Lanka lacks the resources to build automated ticketing machines, ADB will import them with the required software installed. However, if the company awarded the tender wishes to import software by itself, they have to import software from a company or country approved by ADB.