Navdeep Asija, a transportation expert, has come up with a concept for organizing cycle rickshaw-operators into a service group to provide on-call rickshaw service for people. Chandigarh is in the process of putting in place a dial-a-rickshaw service, to mobilize city rickshaw-operators under the phone-in programme.
Organisers are in the process of data collection of rickshawallahs with cell phone (who hasn't a phone, nowadays ?) in Chandigarh's 170 cycle-rickshaw stands. Idea is to publish Yellow Page that gives area-wise details of rickshaw-operators - their name, photo, mobile number and the list of the areas where they are available. The data is crowd-sourced, and rickshaw users are encouraged to send in for inclusion in the list, details of rickshaw operators they know of in their localities.
The Chandigarh Ecocab service has been put together by a 14-member team led by Navdeep Asija. Navdeep who pioneered a movement to turn congested segments of our cities into car-free zone, started with his native Fazilka, where ther Clock Tower market area was made a pedestrian paradise. Later. the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in its directive on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), asked the authorities to identify and establish vehicle free areas in each town and city of Punjab.
The Ecocab has designed an all-steel rickshaw that weighs some 20 odd kg. less than the conventional one (90-95 kg), making Ecocab rickshaw easier to operate. Besides Fazilka and Chandigarh Ecocab phone-in service are being developed in Amritsar and Patiala, where a non-profit group has launched the Green cabs. They provide operators with a relatively lighter-in-weight rickshaw, and a membership card that ensures rickshaw-operators free medical check up, concessional treatment, concessional lab investigations. Rickshawallahs would be entitled to discounted medicine at designated medical shops. The Patiala Green Cabs seeks to provide members with Insurance, uniforms and also help them increase their earnings through new advertisement concepts.
I thought of doing this post about Punjap Ecocab service in this blog that relates to OMR area in Chennai, in the hope that some enterprising soul here would take the initiative to launch Ecocab service for short-distance transport network in OMR area. Rickshaw service would be ideal for covering places within a distance of one to five km. - i.e. Siruseri bus stop on OMR to the IT offices complex; from Padur (where I live ) to Kelambakkam. Some emerging residential complexes on OMR are so big and extensive that a rickshaw operator would find it viable to work within the complex.