AFP: Sri Lanka plans to restrict imports of tuk-tuks in a bid to reduce road accidents and congestion, the country’s transport minister said yesterday.
Almost a fifth of road fatalities in Sri Lanka are caused by the ubiquitous three-wheel taxis, known locally as ‘trishaws’, which are also choking the road network, minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.
“We have over a million trishaws and our roads cannot take any more,” he told parliament, adding that while the government cannot impose a blanket ban on imports, it would limit them.
Sri Lanka has about 1.2 million tuk-tuks according to official data, almost all of them brought over from neighbouring India and many in poor condition.
In the absence of public mass transit options, the rickety three-wheelers are a popular transport option as well as a key source of employment, with an increasing number of young men becoming rickshaw drivers. But in January this year authorities tightened the rules governing tuk-tuks, citing safety concerns.