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in popular parlance) is a vehicle for hire
that is one of the chief modes of transport
and Sri Lanka
and is popular in many other countries. It is a motorized version of the traditional rickshaw
, a small two- or three-wheeled cart pulled by a person, and the velotaxi
. A small number of auto rickshaws and tuk-tuks can be seen on the streets of China Town in London
, although used mainly by tourists and not the local population. The auto rickshaw is also related to its Thai
cousins, the tuk-tuk
and the Bajaj
and Sri Lanka
, whereas in Brighton
auto rickshaws are called tuctucs
Vehicle overviewright|thumbnail|200px|Suspension and lighting on the front wheel assembly typical of auto rickshaws, first seen on 1940s [Vespa
An auto rickshaw, or simply just rickshaw, is generally characterized by a tin/iron body resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), a small cabin for the driver (called an auto-wallah
in some areas) in the front and seating for three in the rear. Autos
are generally fitted with a scooter
version of a two-stroke engine
with a handlebar for control (again like scooters) instead of a steering
wheel, effectively making them a three-wheeler scooter carrying passengers on the rear seat. However, the former version has still not become extinct. In North India, there is a variation, powered by a Harley-Davidson
engine, called the phat-phati
because of the sound it makes. However this is almost extinct because of the amount of pollution it causes.
Auto rickshaws are extremely light vehicles considering their capacity. When they break down, only two or three drivers are required to fully lift them off the ground and they can be easily pushed by one driver.
Auto rickshaws in Indiaright|200px|thumbnail|left|Auto rickshaws in [India
A majority of Indian auto rickshaws have no doors or seatbelt
s. They are generally black or green in colour and have a yellow roof on the top. However the design normally depends on the location (state) of the patrol, and so does the color. For example the sides of an auto in Delhi are green, while in Bangalore
they are yellow. Their design varies considerably from place to place. In some locations, they have an extra plank on the seat to accommodate a fourth passenger. In reality it is not uncommon to see 6-8 passengers in an auto rickshaw with such an ad hoc
setup, although, in theory, autos
risk fines for carrying more than three passengers in many places. Auto rickshaws that are used for driving children to school have two extra seats/planks like narrow ledges, one facing the main seating space and one to the side. Such auto rickshaws may transport up to 20 children to school.
In India, it is common to find a mechanic's shop around every corner, thus allowing auto-wallahs easy access to spot-repairs. As a mode of transport, the auto rickshaw is turning out to be a major employer in India. Many graduate youths drive auto rickshaws. All major nationalized bank
s of India offer loans to buy one under self-employment schemes. Major Auto rickshaw manufacturers in India are Bajaj Auto
, Piaggio Greaves
, Force Motors
(previously Bajaj Tempo
), Atul Auto and Kerala Automobiles. A two-wheeler major, TVS Motor Co., has announced it will enter the auto rickshaw market with a technologically updated and a less polluting vehicle, in early 2006. Not restricted to cities, auto rickshaws are also prevalent in large numbers in Indian villages and in the countryside.
In rush traffic many autos can be found waiting to be hired. There is an initial charge at the beginning of a ride then the price normally increases by .5 rupees. It is mandatory that the initial charge be set at a value given by the government. The horns on the rickshaws sound like a duck quacking. For rainy conditions, some autos have plastic coverings.
Fuel efficiency and pollutionright|thumb|200px|CNG-propelled autorickshaws are green and yellow in colour while [petrol
-run autorickshaws are usually black and yellow (or yellow in southern states) in colour.]
In July 1998, the Supreme Court of India
ordered the Delhi
government to implement CNG
for all autos and for the entire bus fleet in and around the city. Delhi observed a dramatic improvement in the quality of air with the switch to CNG, and this is important for a city where it is not uncommon to see pedestrians and drivers wearing nurse's masks for protection against the prevalent city smog. Initially, auto-wallahs in Delhi had to wait in long queues to get their CNG cylinders re-filled, but the situation has improved drastically with the rise of petrol pumps that sell CNG. Certain other local governments are also pushing for four-stroke engine
s instead of the current two-stroke versions. Typical mileage
for an Indian-made autorickshaw is around 35 kilometre
s per litre of petrol
Auto rickshaws have a top-speed of around 50 km/h
(about 31 mph) and a cruising speed of around 35 km/h (22 mph). Traffic authorities in big cities have implemented different mechanisms to circumvent the resulting traffic slow-down issues. Autos are also banned from plying in the older, more crowded areas of Mumbai
, south of Bandra. Some arterial roads of Chennai
have a separate lane earmarked for autos and slow two-wheelers, though scant regard is generally paid to lane markings. The triangular form of the auto also makes maneuvering easy, with the front single wheel negotiating the available gap, and the rear two wheels forcing a larger space.
Hiringright|thumbnail|150px|left|The view from inside an auto rickshaw. A closeup view of the fare meter (electronic version)right|thumbnail|150px|The view from inside an auto rickshaw. A closeup view of the fare meter (mechanical meter version). Note the decoration over the meterright|thumbnail|200px|Viw from inside an auto rickshaw (drivers view). Note the decorated meter at the left.
Autos have to install a taximeter
according to laws in various parts of India. Many do not have one, however, and even among those that do, some drivers refuse to turn them on. Hiring an auto often involves bargaining
with the driver. But auto-wallahs across India are often accused of fleecing money by installing faulty meters, taking a longer route to the destination and demanding multiple times the fare early in the morning or late at night, or at times when other means of transport are not available. Fares can also double if the destination is an isolated place (charge for returning empty). Auto-wallahs generally defend themselves against such accusations by blaming the government for its negligence of market realities while fixing the distance-based fares. Passengers unfamiliar with the local language are considered particularly vulnerable to overcharging. Cities like Thiruvananthapuram
in the Kerala
state of India have made strict regulations to install Fare-Meters in auto rickshaws. Every new auto entering their streets is required by law to install a digital fare meter to avoid the kind of manipulation with the older mechanical Fare-Meters.
In cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
, Chennai, Pune
, traffic-regulating authorities have tried to implement pre-paid schemes where the passengers pay pre-determined auto-fares (depending on the destination) to some central authority and board the autos. However, it is still far more common for a prospective passenger to simply flag down a rickshaw and negotiate a price without an intermediary official (for reasons like non-availability of prepaid autos at all locations and not wanting to queue up for a long time at the counter.)
Chartered and School Autos
Chartered auto services, where the auto-wallah caters to the hirer at a fixed time every day are also common, especially to ferry children on their trips to and from school, in major cities. Such autos often have tailor-made arrangements for extra seating. Children squeezed tight with their school bags in the gaps is a typical characteristic of these autos. Sometimes, such chartered autos violate traffic rules flagrantly by overloading the passenger area with uncomplaining and playful kids - and this has often led to the autos meeting with minor to fatal accidents, which has prompted stricter control and vigilance by parents and traffic authorities.
Slogans and advertisements on rickshaws
Auto-wallahs flaunt their affection for film stars, cricket
stars and political leaders by putting posters of them both on auto interiors and exteriors. The latest movie title of the auto-wallah's favorite movie star generally appears on the back of the auto.
Autos also feature commercials on the back of their canopy. Autos in Mumbai and Bangalore have advertisements of consumer review portal, MouthShut.com Certain autos are equipped with locally-made music systems that play tracks from latest musical hits in volumes above normal levels.
In India Auto-wallahs generally appear in all-khaki
clothes. Many of them belong to Trade Unions and dutifully celebrate May Day
and the International Labour Day.
In cities like Hyderabad (India), where house numbering is complex, auto-wallahs often turn out to be the only source for spotting out the house for a given address.
In Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore, auto drivers often refuse to drive prospective customers to various destinations. The hapless commuter then has to shop around, hopping from Auto to Auto searching for the right one.
, drivers dress casually, but all wear waistcoats designed by Gresham Blake
, who also has one of the vehicles in his livery
Auto-wallahs in film
Auto-wallahs are often negatively portrayed in Indian films, sometimes as villains who kidnap passengers or steal their money. One exception is Tamil
super star Rajinikanth
. Rajnikanth is shown as the best of benefactors in the movie and thus he has been an icon among auto-wallahs. Auto stands in Tamil Nadu
have pictures of Rajinikanth showing their devotion for him. A Kannada
movie Auto Raja
starring Late Shankar Nag
is also an icon among auto-wallahs. Auto stands in Karnataka
have pictures of Shankar Nag showing their devotion for him. Recently Super star Upendra
made a film Auto Shankar
as a tribute to the great actor.
movie Aye Auto
starring Mohan Lal
as an auto driver also proved quite popular, and not just with auto-drivers.
The James Bond
features a chase scene in which Bond (Roger Moore
) and a fellow MI6
agent (Vijay Amritraj
) elude villains while they are in an auto. The sequence has one liners with Bond saying "Vijay, we have company" and Amritraj (Noted tennis
player of the '70s) the driver replying "No problem sir, this is a company car" while villain Kabir Bedi
takes pot shots at them using a shotgun. The chase ends with the rickshaw heading for a brick wall covered by the handbills of a Hindi movie which turns out to be the well hidden entrance to the local MI6 office. The thai film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368909/ Ong-Bak
features a spectacular tuk-tuk chase scene with many tuk-tuk
Auto rickshaws and crime
In many cities in Southern India, auto rickshaws have had a notorious reputation for being the vehicle of operation in criminal activities ranging from petty thievery and "chain snatching" (snatching necklace jewellery worn by Indian women) to murder. Auto Shankar
, a notorious psychopath
ic killer operated in south Chennai as an auto driver in the 1980s. The image of auto rickshaw drivers in these cities has suffered greatly due to such incidents.
Share autosright|thumbnail|200px|A share auto on the roads of [Chennai
, a variation on the auto-rickshaw—engineered to carry more passengers]
Auto rickshaws have been modified in India
to carry more passengers and are called Share Autos
. Office commuters find this version more economical since the fare is shared by more people. Competition among 'share' auto-wallahs has led to the virtual standardization of fare per passenger based on their destination. Shared autos vary in both name and size from place to place. They are called "Phat-a-phats" in Delhi (which are actually variants of what were once horse-driven vehicles), "Shuttle rickshaws" in Ahmedabad
, "8-seater autos" in Hyderabad and "Polaamboo vans" in Chennai. These large share autos shuttle over a distance of 10 to 15 km to gather a substantial number of commuters. Shared autos play an important role in transporting urban India, where state-organized public transport, while not quite crippled, is congested to a point of extreme unreliability, especially during peak hours.
==Auto rickshaws in Pakistan
Known locally as Rickshah
, and used mainly by the lower-middle-class, it is a popular mode of transport for short routes within cities. One of the major brands of auto rickshaws in Pakistan
(an Italian Company).
The problem of environmental pollution caused by auto rickshaws in major Pakistani cities is a growing menace. Environment Canada
is implementing pilot projects in Lahore
with engine technology developed in Mississauga
that uses CNG instead of leaded petrol in the two-stroke engines.
One of the important aspect of auto-rickshaws in Pakistan is that they are home to popular http://pkblogs.com/rickshaw 'mobile graffiti'
. Rickshaw owners and driver use the rear side of the rickshaw to write witty, funny and even philosophical tag-lines that others on the road read and enjoy.
In addition to ferrying people around, an innovative use of auto rickshaws in public life was the demonstration in Peshawar
in 2001 against the American invasion of Afghanistan.
==Auto rickshaws in Thailand
Auto rickshaws in Central America
==200px|right|thumb|Two 1/50 scale models of auto rickshaws, which are known as Bajajs in Indonesia.
is the Central American
vian incarnation of the auto rickshaw. These are most commonly made from the front end and engine of a motorcycle attached to a two-wheeled passenger area in back. Commercially produced models such as the Indian Bajaj brand are also employed.
==Auto rickshaws in Indonesia
s, competing for customers with taxis, these are common throughout Indonesia
. Bajaj is a very famous and probably the only brand of Auto-Rikshaws that sell in India. Bajaj (Owned by Rahul Bajaj) is also a very famous brand for Motor Cycles and scooters in India.
==Auto rickshaws in England
As of Monday July 10 2006
, auto rickshaws (named tuctucs) were introduced in the city of Brighton & Hove
by entrepreneur Dominic Ponniah, who had the idea after seeing the vehicles used successfully in the transport infrastructure of India and Sri Lanka during his university gap year.
They were introduced as a cleaner and cooler form of private transport. They are CNG
-powered, using a four-speed (plus reverse) 175cc engine, so are far more environmentally friendly than petrol
powered vehicles - an important factor for the many Brightonians and tourists who are concerned about the environment.
Currently, under the terms of their licence, the tuctucs run on a fixed single route, and stop only at designated stops. The route runs along the seafront from Brighton Marina
in the east, to Hove
in the west with a diversion along West Street to Brighton railway station
and back. They run from 8am to 2am daily (except Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays, when close of service is 11pm); the frequency varies between 5-minute and 20-minute intervals. A simple ticketing scheme is in place: a £3.00 all-day ticket is available on weekdays only, while a single-journey ticket is £2.50 adult, £1.50 child. Tickets are issued on board and at various outlets both in the city and elsewhere in South-East England.
Each tuctuc has its own colour scheme, including the Britannia with its Union Flag design and the Gresham, named after Gresham Blake
, the local tailor who designed the drivers' uniform of a pinstriped waistcoat. They are of the same design as traditional auto rickshaws in other countries such as India
, being a design evolved since the late 1940s and early 1950s from the Piaggio Ape
, which started life itself as a Vespa scooter
The vehicles became very popular within the first month of service, and are to be introduced in other towns and cities in the UK
, starting with London
in May 2007.
Issuesthumb|right|Save Our Tuctuc
In September 2006
filed a lawsuit against Tuctuc Ltd for using a design similar to Burberry's famous check pattern on one of its vehicles 1
. This has now been resolved as the vehicle in question is currently been repainted.
An investigation was launched into Tuctuc Ltd's operation of the service 2
after complaints that routes, stopping points and timetables were not being adhered to were raised, primarily by the city's taxi drivers. In November 2006, the company was fined £16,500 - the maximum penalty possible - by the South East Traffic Commissioner. After amendments were made to the timetable to reduce delays and improve reliability, the Commissioner allowed the company to keep its operating licence 3
*1 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/5335868.stm BBC News - Burberry forces Chavrolet Tuctuc off the road.
*2 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/5342764.stm BBC News - Public inquiry launched into Tuctuc Ltd.
*3 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/6114824.stm BBC News - Tuctuc Ltd fined for breach of Public Service Vehicle Licence.
* http://arart.blogspot.com Autorickshaw Art
is a blog that captures the art (pictures) on the backs of rickshaws.
* http://www.autorickshaws.com Autorickshaw info and pictures
* http://www.tuctuc.co.uk TucTuc Brighton's autorickshaw service
* http://www.tuctucwinterroute.co.uk TucTucs winter routeCategory:Motorcycle classificationsCategory:TaxicabsCategory:Transport in IndiaCategory:Transport in PakistanCategory:Three-wheeled motor vehiclesde:Autorikschaid:Bajajja:三輪タクシーta:ஆட்டோ ரிக்ஷா