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With FM radios,seat belts and newspapers,city’s ‘modern’ cycle rickshaws armed to pamper residents

After AC cabs and tuk-tuk auto rickshaws,very soon modernised cycle rickshaws will also be at your doorstep,just with a phone call.

Written by Ifrah Mufti | Chandigarh |
June 24, 2013 5:59:19 am

After AC cabs and tuk-tuk auto rickshaws,very soon modernised cycle rickshaws will also be at your doorstep,just with a phone call. Fazilka Eco-cabs with support from the Municipal Corporation,Chandigarh will be inaugurating the Eco-cab system on the occasion of its 5th anniversary in the city on June 25 at the Sukhna Lake. Initially five Eco-cabs will be introduced that day.

Navdeep Asija,founder of the NGO named Graduates Welfare Association,Fazilka says,“I initiated this project to improve the accessibility of cycle rickshaws to the residents of Chandigarh by means of direct-dial-a-rickshaw facility. Above all it is the best means to protect environment. I wanted to bridge the gap between demand and supply need of para-transit mode as a public transport using latest transportation and technological tools.”

The organisation has already prepared data on the web portal of the phone numbers of all the rickshaw pullers in the city who have cell phones. There are around 170 cycle stands in the city,therefore sector-wise cycle stands and the phone numbers of the rickshaw pullers available there is mentioned in the data. The control rooms and the operators for the Eco-cab system will not be required because the residents will be able to contact their nearest cab owners directly on their cell phones. The Eco-cab services will be known as Rapid-rickshaw transit. “Keeping in mind the comfort of the residents,we have put in place an advanced call system and now the service is also available on android based smart phones as an App called Chandigarh Eco-cabs,” said Asija.

Municipal Commissioner Chandigarh VP Singh said,“I personally believe that these Eco-cabs will help the city residents for it will become easier for them to commute to the nearest places.”

The direct dial-a-rickshaw facility has already been started in a few sectors,including Sector 9,11,15,17,20,21,40,41,43,44 and 47.

The service is to be started in three phases. The first phase will be Sukhna Lake to Rock Garden which will cost Rs 5 to Rs 10 per passenger. The second phase will be geri route express which will cover Sectors 8 to 11 while the third phase will be Sector 17.

The Eco-cabs launched by Asija and his team of 12 members are already running in 22 cities of Punjab including Amritsar,Faridkot and Sangrur etc. The specially designed green coloured Eco-cabs have got enough reflectors which will enable the cabs to look brighter at night as well. Apart from the seat belts for passenger safety,cushioned seats and a newspaper in the Eco-cab,one may also enjoy the FM radio while travelling.

In 2011,MC came up with up 10 such Eco-cabs which still exist in the city. Those ten rickshaws were almost of the same features,but lacked protection from sun and rain. One of the rickshaw pullers who got this Eco-cab in 2011 says,“Today only 5-6 rickshaws are running out of the ten that MC gave. We were given these rickshaws on an assurance of getting a good response but our rickshaws hardly get any response in the city. They lack protection from rain and sun,why would people prefer these rickshaws in this scorching heat and also,we didn’t have proper locations or rickshaw stands.”

As part of the future plan,the rickshaw pullers who will be owning the Eco-cabs will be given training by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) to guide the tourists.

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