New in public transport: City gets dial-a-rickshaw

Posted on 26th June 2013 in Indian Express
Replete with newspapers, seat belts and FM radios, Eco-cabs - specially designed rickshaws - joined Chandigarh's public transport list on Tuesday. An added advantage is that they reach your doorstep with just a phone call.
UT Adviser KK Sharma inaugurated the first such dial-a-rickshaw service on Tuesday.

The light-weight Eco-cabs have 3 feet 5 inch of the sitting space and are armed with a 4 inch cushion and their low-floors are meant to allow the elderly and children easy access. A seat-belt, dustbin, newspaper, tourist map and FM radio are some of the features of the modernised green-coloured cycle-rickshaws.

In their inaugural run, five Eco-cabs were distributed to the respective rickshaw pilots. As part of the first phase of the Ecocab project, also called the Rapid-rickshaw Transit, passengers will be charged a fixed tariff of Rs 20 per passenger between Sukhna Lake and Rock garden, the two tourist hot-spots in the city.

The founder of Fazilka Eco-cabs Navdeep Asija said that the concept is in line with the Bus Rapid Transit which can further be expanded into 'Geri Route' and 'Chandigarh Tourism Route' with help of the administration.

"People from outside Chandigarh think that the city is the best place in terms of fresh air because it has got so many trees but it is not true. There are so many vehicles in the city that it has become so much polluted. City needs eco-friendly alternatives for the transportation. Aligning the cycle-rickshaws with advanced communication tools can make them more viable," UT advisor KK Sharma said.

"Keeping in mind the health problems of the rickshaw pilots, new Eco-cabs are made of steel-pipe which helped reduce the weight by 35 kg. Chandigarh administration will also assure health safety and will take of the insurance policies for these rickshaw pilots," he added.

According to Asija, commuters who know cycle rickshaw operators in their neighbourhoods can refer them to the dial-a-rickshaw facility simply by using the android-based smart phone application or direct web applications. This will enable the administrator to post details of the rickshaw operator on the server.

"Dial-a-rickshaw service will help in reducing the number of empty trips on the part of the operator. Now the operator doesn't need to stand at a particular place and wait for customers; he can now park his rickshaw anywhere in parking or open areas and move to his client after a phone call of customer. This will help in reducing the traffic burden on roads," Asija said.

Municipal Commissioner VP Singh and Finance Secretary VK Singh were also present. While Madan Mandal, President of New Kranti Cycle Rickshaw Worker Union (NKCRWU) requested the administration to provide the rickshaw-pilots with rickshaw stands or proper locations in each sector.


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