Rickety rickshaw rides are set to be replaced by a world-class experience — the e-rick is on its way to Delhi. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is introducing new rickshaws — a hybrid between an autorickshaw and cyclerickshaw — that will be fitted with GPS systems, says a Times of India report.
These will be manned by drivers who will not only speak English but will also be trained to take tourists around the city's popular destinations. While 10 of these batteryoperated, eco-friendly rickshaws will be seen on city roads by next month, MCD hopes to launch 4,000 of these before the Commonwealth Games. Said an MCD official: ‘‘We hope to replace all rickshaws plying in the city with the new e-ricks. There are a total of 99,000 licenced rickshaws in Delhi.''
The e-ricks will have space for two to three people and will work as feeder services for Metro in areas like Vikas Marg, Vishwavidyalaya, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Saket, Emporio Mall(VK), Greater Kailash-I, GK-II, Green Park, Lajpat Nagar and Defence Colony.
The civic agency has formed a tie-up with a private firm, which will own, operate and maintain these rickshaws. The company is also exporting the e-ricks to England. Said an official: ‘‘ The maximum speed for this vehicle is 25km/hr. Provisions will be made at all MCD parking lots to recharge the battery of these rickshaws. We are also in talks with malls to allow their parking space to be used for recharging rickshaw batteries.''
The current rickshawpullers will be hired by the private firm and will receive a monthly salary of Rs 4000-5,000 besides a medical insurance by the company. E-ricks' trial runs have already been conducted and according to sources, a ride on the e-ricks would cost Rs 10-15 depending on the distance. Significantly, senior citizens will not be charged for taking its services.
The company will also enter into an agreement to park these ricks at MCD parking sites at night. The firm will get advert i s e m e n t rights from the civic agency in lieu of its service. Added a senior official: ‘‘The company will pay us a monthly fee per vehicle for putting up advertisements on the new rickshaws. E-ricks will ply in the light motor vehicle lane.''
Other facilities like LCD screens might be added to the existing model at a later stage to make it more attractive. The entire rickshaw model is recyclable. These modern rickshaws ply in countries such as England, Australia, China, Canada, Denmark, Italy and Germany. In fact, e-rick fleets were present at a number of international events such as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the Expo 2005 in Japan and 2006 Football World Championship in Germany.