The Best Autorickshaw Models in India: Features, Prices, and Reviews
Everything You Need to Know About Autorickshaws
If you have ever visited or lived in an Asian city, chances are you have seen or ridden in an autorickshaw. These three-wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport around the world, especially in developing countries. But what exactly are they, how did they come to be, what challenges do they face, and what does the future hold for them? In this article, we will explore these questions and more.
What is an autorickshaw?
An autorickshaw is a motorized version of the pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw. It usually has a sheet-metal body or open frame resting on three wheels, a canvas roof with drop-down side curtains, a small cabin at the front for the driver operating handlebar controls, and a cargo, passenger, or dual purpose space at the rear. It can carry up to four passengers or a load of goods. It is powered by a small engine that runs on gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electricity, or hybrid fuel.
Different types and names of autorickshaws
There are many different types and designs of autorickshaws, depending on the local needs and preferences. Some examples are:
The tuk-tuk: This is the most popular type of autorickshaw in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. It has a rounded front and a large rear passenger compartment that can seat up to six people.
The bajaj: This is the name given to autorickshaws in Indonesia, where they are manufactured by Bajaj Auto, an Indian company. They have a boxy shape and a front windshield.
The keke: This is the name used for autorickshaws in Nigeria, where they are also known as maruwa or tricycles. They have a yellow color and a closed cabin.
The auto: This is the generic name for autorickshaws in India, where they are also called autos or ricks. They have a rectangular shape and a green or yellow color.
Autorickshaws are also known by many other terms in various countries, such as baby taxi, mototaxi, pigeon, jonnybee, chand gari, lapa, tum-tum, 3wheel, pragya, bao-bao, easy bike, cng and tukxi.
Main features and benefits of autorickshaws
Autorickshaws have several advantages over other forms of transport, such as:
They are cheap to buy, operate, and maintain.
They are easy to drive and maneuver in congested traffic.
They provide employment opportunities for drivers and mechanics.
They offer flexible and convenient services for passengers.
They can access narrow streets and remote areas where cars cannot go.
History of autorickshaws
Autorick shaws originated and evolved from the traditional rickshaws that were pulled by human or animal power. The first motorized rickshaw was invented in Japan in 1938 by Daihatsu, a car manufacturer. It was called the Midget and it had a single-cylinder engine and a three-speed gearbox. It was designed to replace the hand-pulled rickshaws that were banned by the government for being inhumane and unsafe.
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Inventors and manufacturers of autorickshaws
After the invention of the Midget, several other companies and individuals started to produce and improve the motorized rickshaw concept. Some of the notable ones are:
Bajaj Auto: This is the largest manufacturer of autorickshaws in the world, based in India. It was founded by Jamnalal Bajaj in 1945 and it started to produce autorickshaws in 1959. It has a market share of over 80% in India and exports to over 70 countries.
Piaggio: This is an Italian company that is known for its Vespa scooters. It also produces autorickshaws under the brand name Ape, which means bee in Italian. It was introduced in 1948 as a three-wheeled version of the Vespa and it is popular in Europe and Africa.
Corbin Motors: This is an American company that was founded by Mike Corbin in 1996. It produced an electric autorickshaw called the Sparrow, which had a futuristic design and a top speed of 70 mph. It was featured in several movies and TV shows, such as Austin Powers and Star Trek.
Spread of autorickshaws across different countries and regions
Autorickshaws have become a common sight in many parts of the world, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They have adapted to the local cultures and conditions, and have acquired different names and styles. Some of the factors that have contributed to their spread are:
The demand for cheap and convenient transport in urban areas with high population density and traffic congestion.
The availability of low-cost and easy-to-maintain vehicles that can be imported or locally assembled.
The support from governments and NGOs that see autorickshaws as a way to provide employment, reduce pollution, and improve mobility.
Challenges faced by autorickshaws
Despite their popularity and benefits, autorickshaws also face many challenges and issues that affect their drivers and passengers. Some of these are:
Problems and issues faced by autorickshaw drivers and passengers
Autorickshaw drivers and passengers often have to deal with various problems and issues, such as:
Lack of safety and security: Autorickshaws are vulnerable to accidents, theft, vandalism, harassment, and violence. They have no seat belts, airbags, or doors, and they often lack proper registration, insurance, or licenses.
Lack of comfort and convenience: Autorickshaws are noisy, bumpy, crowded, and exposed to weather conditions. They have no air conditioning, heating, or ventilation, and they often have poor suspension, brakes, or tires.
Lack of regulation and control: Autorickshaws are often subject to arbitrary fares, meters, routes, or zones. They have no standard quality or service standards, and they often face competition from other modes of transport.
Impact of autorickshaws on the environment and traffic
Autorickshaws also have an impact on the environment and traffic, which can be positive or negative depending on the situation. Some of these impacts are:
Positive impact: Autorickshaws can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fuel consumption, and road space compared to cars or buses. They can also promote public transport use, carpooling, or non-motorized transport modes.
Negative impact: Autorickshaws can increase air pollution, noise pollution, and traffic congestion compared to bicycles or walking. They can also cause road safety hazards, parking problems, or visual clutter.
Regulation and control of autorickshaws by authorities
Autorickshaws are regulated and controlled by various authorities at different levels, such as national governments , regional governments, local governments, transport authorities, police departments, or trade unions. They have different roles and responsibilities, such as setting and enforcing rules, standards, and policies for autorickshaws. Some of the common regulations and controls are:
Licensing and registration: Autorickshaws need to obtain a valid license and registration from the authorities to operate legally. They also need to display their license number, fare chart, and contact details on their vehicles.
Fare and meter: Autorickshaws need to charge a fair and reasonable fare to their passengers, based on the distance, time, or zone. They also need to use a functional and accurate meter to calculate the fare.
Route and zone: Autorickshaws need to follow a designated route or zone to avoid overcrowding or overlapping with other modes of transport. They also need to respect the traffic rules and signals on the road.
Future of autorickshaws
Autorickshaws are not only a part of the past and present, but also a part of the future. They are adapting to the changing needs and demands of the society, environment, and technology. They are also contributing to the social and economic development of the communities they serve. Some of the trends and innovations in autorickshaws are:
Adaptation of autorickshaws to changing needs and demands
Autorickshaws are constantly evolving and improving to meet the ex