06th April 2011, www.island.lk
Sri Lanka Railways together with Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, will enter the next phase of mTicketing. Sri Lanka’s first mobile railway ticket reservation system was launched in 2009, to offer railway commuters the convenience of reserving tickets for intercity travel over a mobile phone call.
"Under the initial phase, the service was confined to the Colombo – Kandy route. The new service extends intercity travelling to Vavuniya and Batticaloa through its advanced reservation system, and plans are already underway to extend the service to Omanthei as well in the very near future.
All Mobitel customers can enjoy the service through the Mobitel Ticketing portal by simply dialling 365 from their Mobitel phone. Further, as tickets can be reserved over the phone, the need for a passenger to make an additional trip to the railway station to reserve tickets in advance is completely eliminated.
Sri Lanka Railways and Mobitel hope to extend this facility to other Telecommunication Operators in the near future," a joint statement said.
Claiming a history of over a century, Sri Lanka’s rail transportation has contributed immensely to the growth of the economy in the country. Taking its first steps in transporting tea, rubber and coconut, Sri Lankan Railways has played a pivotal role in the growth of the export sector. Presently, the government establishment has grown to nurture transportation services throughout Sri Lanka.
Commenting on the extension of the innovative service, Dhammika Perera, Secretary Ministry of Transport who graced the occasion as Chief Guest stated "With the extension of the ‘mTicketing System’ to many other intercity routes, we are delighted to take our initial strides towards a milestone in transportation services. Sri Lanka Railways and Mobitel, two vanguards share mutual passion to make our services hassle free and an enjoyable experience for the users".
The unique mTicketing service is available 365 days of the year and bookings will be updated on a real time basis. Upon dialling 365 and reserving one’s railway ticket, the total ticketing charge would be added to the customer’s Mobitel bill or deducted from their account in case of a SMART Pre Paid user.
Mobitel customers have now been offered the convenience of collecting the ticket from the station or any Mobitel Branch.
Speaking at the event, A. G. Mahanama, General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways said, "The service extended by Mobitel will help to enhance an efficient railways system to emerge in the future. The initiative is undoubtedly the way forward and I believe that services like this will bring people to engage further in railways transportation. I sincerely thank Mobitel for their relentless commitment in spearheading the initiative and expanding across to many ther intercity routes. A method that will revolutionise all transpiration systems in Sri Lanka, unravels today"
Suren J. Amarasekera CEO of Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel said, "In line with our premise as the National Mobile Services Provider, Mobitel has readily supported projects that aim to empower our country through the infusion of ICT. We consider it a privilege to take the solution with Sri Lanka Railways to the next level and in doing so reflect ‘care’ in all our endeavours to uplift and work towards the greater development of our country and its people."