Dinusha Kornakaduwa, Chief Operations Officer of busbooking.lk, had a light bulb moment while standing in a long queue for a bus. Recalling the moment from 2014, Dinusha said that he was irritated by the fact that people had to spend ‘ridiculous’ amounts of time just waiting for buses at bus stops; time they could utilize for something more productive.
In his own words: “Commuting in Sri Lanka is not the most pleasant experience given the amount of traffic on the roads. On top of that, when people have to spend hours just standing in queues for buses also, how do we move forward as a country?”
He was determined to make a change and that is exactly what he did. Busbooking.lk was founded accordingly to help commuters reserve their seats well in advance, eliminating the need to stand in queues which has hitherto been the norm.
Q: Busbooking.lk is a unique venture. How has the response been so far?
There is a positive response especially from professionals including doctors who serve in outstation locations, who don’t like to drive; who would much rather sit back and have a comfortable ride. Right now the highest demand is for long distance journeys.
We aim to cover all parts of the country and we have a team of around 16 staff members working on the ground, speaking to operators/bus owners in a bid to get them onboard.
The response so far has been a positive one as most stakeholders when explained understand that technology is the way forward as commuters are only getting busier by the day. They seek and readily embrace options that save time and money for them. Busbooking.lk has been well received by commuters over the last three years.
Q: To how many destinations can commuters reserve seats via your platform?
Our vision is to cover all routes but right now, one can reserve seats to and from destinations such as Colombo, Badulla, Tangalle, Nuwaraeliya, Matara, Kataragama and Batticaloa.
About 10% of the reservations are made by tourists and therefore we believe we would be able to play an important role as a service provider in that sector as well.
Q: Haven’t you tried to convince the Sri Lanka Transport Board (CTB) and other government stakeholders to work with you?
We have in fact approached the National Transport Commission (NTC) but their concern was that the buses were still privately owned and therefore the process of getting the consent of all owners to sign up to go online was a bit of a challenge as well as a tedious process. We believe it will be a win-win by all parties concerned if we can partner with the state sector too in future.
Q: What were you doing prior to busbooking.lk?
I was working as a business consultant attached to a private firm.
Q: What else should commuters know about busbooking.lk?
Busbookings.lk was founded my myself, Udantha Pathirana who is our Chief Execuive Officer and our CIO, Madhura Jayaratne with the objective of saving your time and energy and thereby making lives easy and commuting a comfortable and a pleasant experience.
I believe the venture’s popularity can be attributed to the fact that the website and app are straightforward and easy to use. We also provide users the convenience of making payments online securely via the internet payment gateways provided by leading financial institutions.
Although one can easily make a reservation by oneself, we also have a team of executives at your disposal should you need any assistance or information from us.
We believe busbooking.lk is the only fully-fledged reservation service for public transport in Sri Lanka.