Frequently Asked Questions

Any award or appreciation for Fazilka Ecocabs Project?
Yes, on 6th December 2011, Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF) was awarded with the National "Award of Excellence" for the year 2011 in the area of Non-Motor Transport by the Honorable Minister of Urban Development Shri Kamal Nath at the concluding day function of Urban Mobility 2011. These annual awards are being constituted by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India.

For the year 2012, Fazilka Ecocabs venture qualified in the World's Top 15 for MobiPrize. Mobiprize is an award for entrepreneurial ventures in sustainable transportation. Created by the University of Michigan SMART initiative with the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation, MobiPrize recognizes enterprises that demonstrate innovative and replicable solutions to local and global transportation challenges.
Who Invented Cycle Rickshaw ?
The Reverend Jonathan Scobie was an American Baptist minister and missionary in Yokohama, Japan. It is said that around 1869, he built the first rickshaw to transport his invalid wife around the city. However, there are numerous other theories about the origin of the rickshaw.

Source :  Parker, F. Calvin (1990). Jonathan Goble of Japan. New York: University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-7639-7.
When this Fazilka Ecocab-Dial-a-Rickshaw service was first time Launched in the World ?
Ecocabs were first launched in the world on 20th June 2008 in Fazilka, a small town in Punjab located near the India Pakistan border. It was then that cycle rickshaws were made available to the common public for the first time via a phone and a network of call centers.
What is Fazilka Ecocabs - Dial-a-Rickshaw concept ?
With an idea to strengthen existing unorganized network of cycle rickshaw as a post modern technology in the area of Intermediate Public Transport System for the Fazilka. Initially five and now nine Ecocab call centers are established within the city mainly north, south, east, west and central to provide dial-a-rickshaw facility. Each centre is serving almost 1000 households. To cut down the vehicle out time, these centers are strategically placed along with the network of 5 feeder sub centre so that after a phone call within 10-15 minutes Fazilka Ecocab shall reach at desired location. This is mainly to facilitate household trips based trip to stop increase desired of personal motorised trip within the city; average trip length in the city is less than 3km, so it was easy to promote cycle based intermediate public transport system. At present fleet of 300 registered traction men are self employed under Fazilka Ecocab project. 
What are the benefits of Rickshaw/Ecocabs to the environment, and how Ecocabs are helping to maintain that?
A single rickshaw travel about 40-50km in a day. When compared to a car of average mileage 15km/liter, Ecocab can help in saving upto 3 litres of fuel daily and its related emissions. Also, burning of one liter of fuel requires 15.2 kg of fresh air. Therefore, other than exhaust gases, Ecocab also helps in saving about 45.6 kg of fresh air per rickshaw on a daily basis. Informally operating in every nook and corner of our cities, Ecocabs have added a new dimension to the existing transport systems especially in terms of first and last mile connectivity. This modified form of rickshaw operations can help to maintain and enhance its demand and reverse the declining trend of rickshaw operations observed in the recent past. 
What are the limitations of Ecocab operation as Para Transit Mode of Public Transport?
Limitation of cycle based commuting is effective upto 3km. It has been observed Ecocab operations are giving effective result, in the areas or region where average trip length is less than 4km. Further it is human powered vehicle with capacity of 0.25 Horse power. Through traction power 200kg load can easily be moved.
Scientifically speaking in terms of Transportation Engineering aspect, how and in what ways it is fitting into the need of Public Transport?
It is making effective use of your travel time but reducing your waiting time, alighting and overall vehicle out time, as there is no pedestrian trip involved, because rickshaw is directly made available in front of your door. Strategically location of Ecocab Stands and call center has been kept near residential area, as the origin place of your trip also decide which mode of transport you will chose to travel. One Ecocab center can easily cater 1500 households in small cities where the average trip length is less than 4km, this covers majority of the Indian cities (Not in hilly terrain). Efforts has been made so that Ecocab can reach to the passenger destination within five minutes of call. We call it as Metro of small towns but on Rubber Tyres
Rickshaw operation in many countries and region considered as In-human, Why?
Rickshaw came to India about 100 year ago. In its initial design, it has two wheels and instead of third wheel, manual labour used to pull rickshaw on foot by running. Later through technological advancement, third wheel was introduced to make it more comfortable for both puller and passenger. Now its uncommon, rickshaws pulled by a person on foot. Cycle rickshaws are human-powered, a type of tricycle designed to carry passengers in addition to the driver. Now it is no more Inhuman, and it is very much scientifically designed machine works on pedal power of 0.25 horse power and provide instant livelihood to many. By changing its concept from Rickshaw to Ecocabs, efforts has been made to make this service socially equitable and truly world class.Yes, such myths are being propagated by the Motor transport lobby to discourage the use of Rickshaw/Ecocabs.
How are the Ecocabs operations different from conventional rickshaw operation in India?
Standard Rickshaw Operation in India Ecocab Operation

It is largely being operated through unorganized sector. At certain levels, some labour union exists.

Ecocab is just not the new name of new rickshaw. It is about improvement of standard rickshaw operation by improvising its accessibility to user, quality and comfort related to both passenger and traction men, at regional levels as an Organized Para Transit Mode of Public Transport

It is environment friendly, but due to unorganized structure, its demand going down and people working in this field are leaving this profession.

It is environment friendly and further improvements are being done after taking key inputs from various experts and stakeholders.
This constitutes only the fleet of old heavy weight un-ergonomically and uncomfortably designed for both traction men and rider. The key to Ecocab operations is the improvement of exiting Rickshaw design along with improvement of overall operational System. This constitutes fleet of both traditional and Improvised Rickshaw.
Training, Monitoring, Customer Support, complete service industry parameters are unmonitored and unaccounted. Ecocab operations are working under the close supervision and association of individual experts, local NGO's, administration, government and rickshaw unions as their operational & monitoring partners.
Not much consideration has been given to improve the living standard, operational difficulties, infrastructure requirement of Traction men, and their relevant social economic structure.

They key focus in Ecocab operation is to improve overall quality and health standards for Ecocab operators and their families so that rickshaw remains equally attractive. Occupational health standards are being taken care.

No free Educational and Medical services are available to traction men and their families. At certain areas some philanthropist activities are being done, but at large this sector has remained un noticed.

Here complete government, private education and health services are being extended to Ecocab operators through its operational & monitoring partners.

It is one of the biggest & Instant employment generators at grass root level with minimal investment but trend is declining.

It is one of the biggest Instant employment generators at grass root level with minimal investment but trend is picking up further.

Entire rickshaw operation is unholistic in terms of revenue distribution. It has been found that old age drivers are getting less, whilst with the age their expenditure goes up due to family and other factors.

Here the clear consideration has been given to the demand and supply using latest transportation planning tools, so that each individual should get equal distribution of revenue to support his or his family livelihood.

Nothing much has been done on the branding and further to make it socially equitable

Branding is the key of Ecocab operations and government is also considering the Ecocab operation in terms of town and country planning level.

No Health or Accidental Insurance cover or any external benefit.

Here free or subsidized health and accidental insurance up to 1 lakh rupees is being giving to each traction men followed by other private and government medical facilities, subsidized medicines and laboratory facilities related to their health.

No Automation, advancement and Use of Intelligent Transport tools to smooth its operations.

Each Ecocab operation can be equipped with Telephone services further scope of GPS monitoring and tracking system.  Rickshaws are made available like dial-a-cab facility in few cities. First time in the world this was introduced at Fazilka (India).

No thoughts have been given to increase the additional revenue for traction men through advertisement or renting of fleet operation for occasions.

Additional revenue has been generated for traction men through advertisement and also through organized fleet operations

No availability of government micro finance scheme. Only private local people are funding the credit requirement of traction men for the rickshaw or personal use at a very high rate of interest in the order of 30 to 100%.

Here, nationalized bank and international NGO's micro credit schemes are made available to them at a differential rate of interest scheme, like 4% per annum to buy their rickshaws.

Environment friendly but unquantified

Environment friendly and quantified, which can extend further benefits to traction men through carbon credit.

Exploitation, sometimes from Police, politicians or locals. No legal support.

Administration is fully supporting and due to organized structure, it is difficult to exploit Ecocab operators further. Further their internal grievance readdressed system following by the volunteer support of professionals like legal, transportation or medical professionals, helping traction men to work with more dignity and respect.

No International Recognition

Ecocab operations are well recognized and appreciated.

Safe way of commuting

Safest way of commuting, further development of rickshaw design further making it safe for passenger and traction men.

Project Love Fazilka Initiative