Making inroads into city traffic, that was the title of a Sunday Times article nearly two months ago. Why the hell am I writing about it now? I am a firm believer of the old adage better late than never.
I do have a very good excuse for the delay; I was kept really busy by the carpool project which is what the story is all about. Besides this is the first time in many years that my ugly mug appeared on the newspapers. The last time was when I was an undergrad and our chess team was featured on the same paper. Oh hang on a sec, my photo did appear a few times when my mother in law (a veteran singer) gave out a few family photos when journos asked her to share them. But that doesn't count right?
What you know Road.lk for is not exactly what Raditha Dissanayake had in mind for the site. After a fair share of glowering in traffic, his intention was to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets.
In the article we talk about how road.lk became known as a crowd sourced traffic alert system though my original plan was to make it a sub project. Even 6 weeks after the launch of the carpool service it's still better known for that, but hopefully things will change.
Well I actually said code is poetry and it's something I often say whenever I am introduced to one of my father's friends.
Raditha likes to think of himself as being a “serial entrepreneur” and in fact one of his first innovations was a programme making online transactions possible. Finding a method of online payment accepted in Sri Lanka, because “systems like Paypal are still not functional here” has been one of the reasons for the hold-up
This is actually a misquote in what is otherwise a very well written article. (Thank you Venusha). I spoke of an online bookshop that I started along with three friends in the late nineties. There we processed online transactions. Since then I've seen many Sri Lankan websites claim to have been the first to have done online credit card processing in Sri Lanka but I seriously doubt if any of them were doing anything like that in the 90s.
Rather curiously though getting online payment facilities for road.lk proved to be a very big challenge. None of the service providers that I worked with in the past supported the travel industry (and according to them carpooling fell into the rather broad travel category). Thankfully HNB stepped into fill the vacuum and here wer are!