Cycle Rickshaw

Agra Cycle Rickshaw Project

Source: Cycle – rickshaws: Geared up for the future, by N. Vidyasagar of The Times of India, DELHI, April 13, 1999.

“The project started out of concern for the damage caused to the Taj Mahal due to vehicular pollution. A need was felt to develop a means of transport which is non-polluting, environmentally-viable, and sustainable,” explains Shyam.

“Cycle-rickshaws are the primary mode of transport in many parts of India. A large number of people will benefit from this innovative project,” says Martignoni.

Just half the weight of the traditional model (90 kg), the new version is priced at the existing rickshaw cost of Rs 3,800.

The rickshaw, named ‘Vigyan Ka Samadhan’ (The Answer to Technology), operates on a multiple-gear system which reduces strain on the rickshaw-puller. The traditional cycle-rickshaw has a gear ratio of 48:22 – a 48-tooth chainwheel turning a 22-tooth freewheel on the real axle. Shyam replaced the 48-tooth sprocket with a smaller chainwheel, reducing the force input required.

“We have also reduced the distance between the seat and the handlebar. The old model congests rickshaw-pullers’ lungs,” says Shyam, and explains that the new innovations can be incorporated into rickshaws in the same way that computers are upgraded. The new gear system costs around Rs 270.

Seven cycle-rickshaw models have been unveiled in the Agra Cycle Rickshaw Improvement Project, with a free-to-manufacture leeway to budding entrepreneurs in the country. 1947, Rani Ki Palki, Udan Khatola, Raja Ki Baggi and Vigyan Ka Samadhan and 2001 are the models that have already been tried out successfully. Some of these models have already been tried out at the Bharatpur Sanctuary, where motor vehicles are banned.

Credits: USAID, Institute of Transport and Development Policy (NY), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Year: 1998 – 2003

Acknowledgement: Shreya Gadepalli, Matteo Martignoni, Prabhu Satyajit