SLR has been using the same conventional and way old ticketing system for 150 years and an upgrade has been due for decades. SLR was not able to upgrade its system over the years and in addition, there hadn’t been any successful proposals from local IT giants, despite of having many in the local IT industry for a viable replacement.

Studies carried out and the Overall Revenue gain for SLR

During the Pre-Feasibility study period (in 2017) of the ADB funded Colombo Suburban Railway Project, a financial evaluation study was conducted for evaluating the feasibility for procuring and installing a Smart Ticketing System for Sri Lanka Railways. It was revealed that SLR will receive a financial benefit of about Rs. 190.8 Million from reduction of ticketless travel. In addition, ticket production cost of SLR will be reduced by Rs. 109 Million, if a new Smart Ticketing System will be introduced.  Therefore, minimum overall annual gain received by SLR will be Rs. 299.8 Million.

Design and Bid Document preparation

In this ground, SLR opted the opportunity availed by the ADB to go for a modernized Smart Ticketing and Seat Reservation system designed by a combination of National (01) and International (01) Consultants. A team of SLR experts too participated the design. The bid document too was designed based in ADB standard IT procurement document. This bid document describes the requirement for design, build, and maintenance of smart ticketing and seat reservation system for Sri Lanka Railways and engineer’s estimate was prepared for the system.

The opportunity was made open to the local IT industry too to participate in the tender. SLR’s ticketing system is a government revenue collection system for which 1,200,000 citizens interact with it daily by 2035 (based on the scientific studies, the passenger demand will increase by four times by 2035) and hence the system had to be developed and supplied by an experienced vendor who has wide experience in supplying Smart Ticketing Systems for Railways. Therefore, local IT companies joined hands with international organizations and submitted bids.

Cabinet Approval for System procurement and Procurement Process

Cabinet Approval (in May 2018) was obtained for procuring and implementing the project under ADB funds and in addition the approval was obtained for the procurement method (Two Stage method).

The Procurement Process commenced in August 2018 and the process timeline is attached. It can be observed that ADB review and approve the procurement at six stages over the entire process. In addition, the procurement process underwent the Procurement Appeal Stage as per GoSL Procurement Guideline. Now, procurement is at the Cabinet Approval Stage.

The entire procurement process includes 11 stages and have been listed in the attached Procurement Process Time Schedule. It can be noted that the ADB evaluate and review (Separate independent evaluation other than evaluation by TEC and SCAPC) six times over the entire procurement process

System Features – Passenger convenience and organizational enhancement

Proposed system will cover the island wide railway network and will replace the present century old cardboard ticket with a modern ticketing system which has many more advanced features. The system includes facilities to passenger such as,

  • Ticket Sales through Station Ticket Counters,
  • Ticket sales anywhere at any time through mobile application (QR Coded Mobile Ticket),
  • Passenger print his/her own ticket at home,
  • Buy ticket through various other channels like Ticket vending Machines, Kiosks etc.
  • Pay-As-You-Go Travel cards (card tickets for periodical purposes)
  • Seat Reservation System through which passenger can reserve his own seats.

Furthermore, the system allows flexible fare system through which SLR can consider to increase revenues.

Enhanced Ticket Checking and Validation, Gate Access Control through smart tickets are also included in the proposed smart ticketing system.

Furthermore, the system includes a Railway Luggage and Parcel Billing system with goods tracking system too.

Accounting the revenues at real time and thereby preventing revenue leakages, availability of management related information, are other advantages.

System Features – Software and Hardware Packages and capabilities

Ticketing back office system will consist of ticketing back-office Central System Software Platform (new and widely used and in General Availability stage) and Back-end hardware servers, switches and storage and following various modules.

Inventory management module, Fare policy management module, Booking module, Data collection and reporting module, Front-office equipment supervision module, Customer and profile management module, Journey planning module, Price engine module, Clearing and settlement module, Administration module, Accounting module, Manual ticket entry module, Luggage tracking module, Reporting module and a Smart Card Management System to ensure the total system flexibility based on modern customer requirements.

The system is open to interface any Multi-Modal Travel Card provided by other organizations (Ex: system proposed by Central Bank etc.)

The Hardware Package will include 660 station systems, 500 third party retailing machines (Kiosks), 900 ticket barcode readers (checking equipment), 52 ticket Vending machines, 100 onboard ticket selling machines, 771 platform ticket validators, 150 Parcel tracking equipment and 50 ticket activated access control gates.

Staff Training

Package comes with a comprehensive training of all groups of relevant Railway officers and financing for Station Ticket Counter Area development (development of facilities of SLR staff).

Eight Year Maintenance and Successful Taking over

The first output (mobile application ticket sales system) will be delivered within 6 to 9 months from commencement. A survey carried out during design period indicated that 64% of the railway passengers will opt to purchase Mobile Ticket.

The project installation period will be 03 years followed by 08-year comprehensive Maintenance Period. The ICT division of SLR will be upgraded and relevant staff with required expertise will be recruited and trained during this period. This staff will gain experience by working with the contractor’s staff to finally take over the system after 11 (03 year installation + 08 year maintenance) years.

Effective Utilization of Productive SLR Staff and Infrastructure

The ticketing counters at stations will remain but will be upgraded to have better working environment. The capabilities of SLR dynamic staff and the available facilities of the stations(counters) will be effectively used in enhanced work environments.