Rickshaws: An Another Vital Transport Alternative?
December 16, 2010, 3:09 am
With rapidly increasing urbanization, Kathmandu residents have become highly dependent on transport facilities, be it private or public. What has proved to be most common are motor vehicles, whereas other transportation means like bicycles, rickshaws have also been making their mark time and again.
At a time when transportation has become inseparable entity of Kathmandu residents, it seems more worthwhile to focus on fuel independent vehicles like rickshaws in terms of both environmental and economic benefits.
Rickshaws are more efficient alternative means of transportation in Kathmandu valley owing to the rapidly increasing volume of road traffic. These fuel independent three wheelers can easily make their ways even inside the narrow roads, whereas the bigger motor vehicles such as cars or buses cannot. On the one hand one can easily own rickshaws in low cost and on the other customers are not obliged to pay comparatively more bucks like in the case of taxis.
Secondly, the roads are limited while number of private and public vehicles are skyrocketing, especially the motorbikes.
Additionally, infrastructures are limited to build wider and more number of roads. Provided a specific lane, spots and timings, rickshaws can be both economically and practically viable.
Another crucial reason for the rickshaws to be used is for its huge benefit in terms of environment protection. As it does not use fuels like petrol or diesel it does not emit harmful gases, the significant contributor of increase in green house gases and air pollution. So, choosing rickshaw more often is to contribute more in terms of making our planet greener. Especially, when Kathmandu valley is more being plunged into pollution, giving rickshaw more chance to roam around Kathmandu could eventually help reduce the valley’s air pollution.
On the one hand it takes far little investment to own rickshaw on the other hand it can provide employment opportunities to a number of new rickshaw drivers. For instance, a rickshaw barely costs rupees 25,000 whereas a normal two-seater motorbike costs more than one hundred thousand rupees and it’s even more costly for its operation and maintenance. Thus, increasing number of rickshaws in Kathmandu directly or indirectly reduce the rate of unemployment. Also Life style will be changed dramatically because of the money generated from the new jobs. At the same it could contribute in environment protection in a great deal.
Tourists are often seen expressing their displeasure over irritating traffic congestion in the valley and they would be happy to cruise around rickshaws around their favourite places. Even national or international tourists prefer to cruise around in rickshaws which could lead to the improvement in tourism industry.
Owing to all the reasons mentioned above, rickshaws can be chosen as usual transport alternative instead of the traditional motor-aided ones. For instance, a rickshaw could carry six motorbike riders replacing six motorbikes on the road. Moreover, as the concern is high regarding environment protection and climate change replacing machine vehicles by rickshaws could alleviate this problem to a great deal. Also roads at most of the intersections in Kathmandu are narrow and unmanaged, thus rickshaws could be better choice for transport in these areas. In addition, rickshaws can contribute in the benefit of tourism, environment protection, raising employment and more feasibility and efficiency.
In a nutshell, although rickshaws are slower and less spacious than other vehicles, they can still be used in short-distance travel to avoid hassles of crowded public vehicles, expensive fuel price and environmental concerns.