The best way to avoid congested and cumbersome public transport in Colombo is to hire a taxi. There are car taxis, tuk tuk taxis or vans available for larger crowds via numerous cab companies operating in Colombo. Tuk tuks can also be waved down the street.
For those looking to travel out of Colombo and take in the local countryside, trains are the ideal mode of transportation. It is economical, relatively safe and usually less chaotic than buses (except during peak hours).