Buses in Sri Lanka

General information about buses in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka there is a very extensive system of intercity and urban buses. Generally, buses are the main form of passenger transport in the country. Most intercity buses is the city, i.e. they can drive part of the route through the city. To buses to virtually any place in the country.

Unfortunately, in some cases, to travel by bus is not very comfortable because of overcrowding, especially during peak hours. Sometimes you just don't get on the bus. It is also very difficult to move inside a crowded bus, because the aisles between the rows of seats are very narrow. And, be ready for this extreme when traveling by bus: local drivers are real "Schumacher" and can easily overtake everyone, even the tuk-tuks and motorcycles. Overall, it's not very safe mode of transport.

How much is the fare

Местный автобус в Шри-Ланке

The fare is very low (even ridiculous) depends on the distance. Tickets not purchased in advance, payment is happening inside the bus conductors. The tickets are sometimes given, sometimes not. You need to tell the conductor your destination (city, district, some well-known place), and he will tell you the fare. In some cases, the conductor to take tourists the cost is several times higher than the local, "forget" to give change, but even with these "tattoos" the fare is more than acceptable. For example, travel from the city of Galle (Galle, Galle) to Unawatuna in December 2013, was worth taking into account "without putting" 25 rupees, and it is only 7.5 rubles (refer to the currency of Sri Lanka, the exchange rate). Also, for example, travel from dehiwala-mount Lavinia (Mt Lavinia) in Colombo to the city centre of Colombo Fort (a distance of almost 13 kilometers) – 19 RS.

Schedule, time

Расписание автобусов на станции в Шри-Ланке

Almost all the buses in Sri Lanka do not go according to schedule (although maybe it is). They go very often, even on long routes, but trying to catch the bus on time – a waste of time. You more time to spend on figuring out this issue than it waiting at the station. Buses daytime buses run very often, especially in the daytime. In the evening after dark, the frequency decreases.

Night buses don't run (with a few exceptions, for example – airport bus to Colombo). Some routes continue to work until midnight, but it is not to count on it, and it is better to complete all of their moving around town or between cities to 20 hours.

What are the different buses

Фирменный автобус в Шри-Ланке

Buses can be simple and quick. The latter are often air-conditioned, first ever. Express trains are faster and cost about twice as expensive as simple. Distinguishable often can size: is a small bus like our "Gazelles", well, a little bit more.

There is a separate category of buses that can be called as our branded buses. They go on the very popular long-distance routes, including to Colombo airport. They are more comfortable and air-conditioned, they only seated, as opposed to any other (including multiples) who stuffed people like barrels of herring. The prices are also very reasonable. For example, the fare on this bus from the bus station Negombo to Colombo for a distance of almost 40 kilometers an hour and a half in December 2013 cost 195 rupees (about 50 rubles).


Вот такими желтыми табличками обозначаются маршруты на автобусных станциях

Buses in Sri Lanka are numbered. Continuous numbering throughout the country, i.e. there are no different routes in different cities with the same number. Even on the windshield there is information about the starting and ending point of the route, which is quite often duplicated in English. International buses are specified in the city, and for city buses usually specified area.

To understand all the intricacies of difficult routes. But you can always use the help of locals or jigs that will answer, whether to the right place for the bus. Feel free to go to the first stop the bus and call the place where you need: driver, conductor or passengers will answer you. Most importantly, correctly and clearly to name the place that you need. Just don't expect everyone knows the name of the shopping Mall or hotel that you need, so it is important to know at least the name of the city or district.

How to use the buses. Stations and stops

Автобусная остановка в Шри-Ланке

Buses strictly on the stops, which are marked either just marks, or are fully equipped. Entry and exit is sometimes produced almost on-the-go: the bus slows down, not completely stop while the passengers jump out and swing by.

Intercity buses start and end their routes at the bus stations, which are in every major city or area. Sometimes these stations represent a huge building, and some where just a large Parking lot. But the principle is everywhere the same: you come into the station, find your desired bus, and just sit in it. There are no cash registers and pre-bookings are not required, all payable to the bus conductor. To find the right bus at the bus station, you can either walk and see the information on the signs at Parking places where they are, and a small station you just need to ask the bus drivers or passers-by where the bus is going there.

The first few rows of seats in front of the buses are designed for pregnant women and religious leaders (monks), what are warning signs-stickers on the Windows or the ceiling of the bus. But if neither the one nor the other in the bus no, you can safely take, and if necessary to make room for them.

Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
Lauryn 15 Dec 2017, 17:33
1Добрый evening! Going to Sri Lanka in the second half of January. If I'm on the ETA, do not tell me when it's ready? (including the upcoming NG) Or is it better to do it at the airport on arrival? I read that this is possible. Is this true? Thank you for your answer. ...
admin 15 Dec 2017, 17:38
1 do Not see the advantages of what to do at the airport. First of all expensive and secondly have at the airport to spend more time, you need it. Make from home a few days everything will be ready. ...
Yanita 05 Feb 2018, 18:35
1 > we are flying with a child. In Thailand no problem we went with the baby on the motorbike. Can there be a problem with the police in Sri Lanka if the motorcycle will be 2 adults and a child? ...
admin 06 Feb 2018, 09:29
1 Hello! Yes, it seems that even we are not forbidden to carry on a motorcycle in the front seat, and after 12 on the rear. But in Sri Lanka, motorbikes for transport is generally not considered, all ride, and many times with children seen. Well, even if there are complaints, the police (police on the roads, by the way, very little), solve the problem on the spot. The cops are here Oh-Oh-Oh-ry is corrupt, everything can be solved for a few bucks. Do not swear with them, and smile and even laugh, and everything will be OK. P. S. in Kandy into oncoming traffic on the bike flooded, and then as luck COP. He blowed, poulybalis each other, turned around and went back. ...
Lukas 07 May 2018, 18:55
1Hello! I'm going to Sri Lanka in about a month and have thoughts on renting a scooter when I'm in Ella and perhaps also in/around Arugam Bay. I only have my Swedish drivers license (I know more is required) but I wonder about the consequenses if being pulled over? I was several times in Bali and just paid for a temporary license the first time which I could then show when it happened again. How expensive would a fine be in Sri Lanka, it is high risk to get pulled over as a tourist on bike and also, what is worse case scenario if I do get pulled over? Answers would be appriciated! Regards Lukas ...
admin 09 May 2018, 05:13
1 Hi Lukas! You are right, officialy you need to get a local drivers permit. But on practice you don't really need this, actually like on Bali too. I have expirience in driving all around Sri Lanka, have met twice policemens on the road and they cheked-out my russian driving license, and I don't have any problems and fines. ...
Оксана1083 31 may 2018, 13:16
1A how much is one day delay in the visa. We have tickets for 32 days. And how to do better. To change tickets or expired visa to pay ...
aksinew 13 may 2018, 13:54
1C visoiu to decide ...
ucy6ucy 16 may 2018, 11:08
1Скажите please, here I was in Sri Lanka in spring of this year, I was there 2 and a half months, returned in April, now I want to go there for a month, will you give me a visa? ...
admin 16 may 2018, 11:36
1 Make ETA, there will be no problems. ...

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