The airport is kinda a black hole transportation wise. There’s no public transport and you have to take cabs at exorbitant rates. Well, there’s almost no public transport. They started and then discontinued a train service, and there is a bus which gets you vaguely there. Savan braved the trip for YAMU and made his flight to tell the tale.
Anyone who has made it past the first row of waiting family members, the second row of predatory tour companies and the final phalanx of hustling van and tuk drivers will have noticed a grimy, blue prison-like bus perpetually parked at the far end of the collection point.
With its barred windows and prominent rust patches I’ve always assumed that this was a conveyance for unfortunate airport workers or maybe some antiquate lepers’ transport as those using it seemed to be both generally ashamed and shunned by others on the platform. On a recent trip to the airport however I discovered that the vehicle in question was in fact the airport bus. (The Mythical Airport Bus)
His telling of the tale is actually hilarious, you should read the whole thing. Long story short, you can take the 187 bus (a normal commuter bus) which vaguely passes within a 20 minutes walk of the airport, or a Rs. 150 trishaw ride. It’s basically not intended as a airport service at all, but it does sorta vaguely work. Just not well.
Why is airport transport so messed up? This is partly because some political mafia controls cabs out of the airport, ie, the cab that drops you off can’t really pick someone else up. So you get fleeced at both ends. A trip costs at least Rs. 2,500 you can end up paying 5 Gs just getting to your flight. And right now, you can get a one way flight to Singapore for Rs. 7,500, so it’s seems wrong.
It’s also because the Negombo Road is one of the craziest in Sri Lanka, combining both an airport express and people’s front yards. I’ve gone to the airport in a trishaw, which is cheap, but it felt very, very dangerous. On the plus side the Katunayake Expressway should be functional next year and one can, perhaps vainly, hope that the put an airport bus on there.