Rickshaws form a shabbily neat line opposite the gate of my office every evening. Some pullers perch on the back seat with their feet on the handle. Some stand by the side. A few move about talking to each other or at times bend down to check the tyres. One coughs, another smokes and a third one spits out tobacco spittle. They wear open shirts and torn pajamas in the summers. In winters sweaters with gaping holes and torn shoes protect their bodies from the chilly winds. Breakfast is a small plastic cup of tea and a fan. Lunch comprises roties wrapped in newspaper and chole from the roadside vendor. I’ve never witnessed dinner.
They form the missing link between home, public transport and the workplace. The bus stops at the bus stop which is not always close to the home or the office. The metro stops at the metro station which suffers from the same problem. Mostly public transport is far away from home or office.
I step out and hear cries of ‘Rickshaw!’
The three wheeled flimsy contraption, the rickshaw, provides a cheap and effective means of tranportation over short distances. In its current form it is unstable and puts considerable strain on the rickshaw puller.
A battery powered rickshaw, called the pedicab, can be an effective solution. It would be inexpensive when mass produced. With a top speed of 10 kph.the pedicab seems to be The Solution we so badly need in our public transport.
Here are links to a few interesting designs of pedicabs: