Rickshaws in dire need of infrastructure and regularisation
Around 17,000 cycle rickshaws and 1,000 e-rickshaws have been one of the preferred options for last mile connectivity in Noida. This is because the city does not have a city bus service for commuters to reach metro stations or travel short distances.
However, cycle rickshaws and e-rickshaws need to be regularised — the vehicles need to be checked for safety and drivers need to be issued licences.
Additionally, the local civic bodies need to provide supporting infrastructure to ensure cycle rickshaws and e-rickshaws operate in an organised manner. Noida needs dedicated lanes for the vehicles and rickshaw stands, which will avoid random parking along main and arterial roads, in green belts and vacant plots.
The Noida Cycle Rickshaw Drivers’ Union president, Ramakant, has been demanding cycle rickshaw stands for the last couple of years. “We have written several times to the Noida Authority to register our vehicles and provide stands for cycle rickshaws. This will help solve the problem of traffic congestion,” he said.
“It is very chaotic outside metro stations as cycle rickshaw pullers hound passengers. They park their vehicles haphazardly, competing with each other to pick up passengers,” said Sunaina Gupta, a resident of Sector 12.
But the easy availability of cycle rickshaws nullifies these orgnisational issues. “They are available near the residential colony if not inside and drop you at the doorstep of your destination. This is the most preferred mode of transportation for the elderly and those who do not how to drive,” said Minakshi Kaul, a resident of Sector 50.
Cycle rickshaws are registered with municipal bodies in various cities. However, Noida does not have a municipal body and the civic issues are addressed by the Noida Authority.
According to Sandeep Chandra, the traffic cell head of the Noida Authority, there is no proposal to register cycle rickshaws or provide parking lots for the vehicles. “The mode is useful for short distances. But we cannot provide parking area for cycle rickshaws. Providing them separate lanes on roads is also not possible. We could have used service lanes for their movement, like in Chandigarh. This is because vehicles are parked on our service lanes,” said Chandra.
On the other hand, e-rickshaws are preferred for their speed and are cheaper as compared to cycle rickshaws. But their unlicenced drivers are also blamed for driving recklessly and worsening traffic congestion. Nearly 136 cases of rash driving were filed against e-rickshaws in Delhi from 2010, when the service was launched. However, on July 31, 2014, the Delhi high court banned the mode of transport.
“While the amendment in the motor vehicles act allows four passengers, the vehicles are often overloaded with five-seven passengers. The drivers drive recklessly, endangering the lives of passengers,” said RK Jain, a resident of Sector 22. None of the 1,000 motorised rickshaws are registered by the regional transport department.
Rachna Yaduvanshi, assistant regional transport officer (administration), said that e-rickshaws, manufactured by two companies in Noida and Delhi, can only be registered.