Take one for a cheap, brisk ride around the monument
Shivani Chaturvedi | April 13, 2010
After battery-run buses and ‘golf carts’, battery-run cycle rickshaws have become the latest tourist amenity in the city of Taj Mahal.
The blue and green cycle rickshaws can be seen zipping across the Taj area and other tourist spots in Agra.
“It’s very comfortable; plus it’s much faster than the traditional rickshaw. It took us no more than 2-3 minutes to cover 700-800 metres from the parking to the western gate of Taj Mahal,” said Meetu from Bhopal, after taking a joy ride with her family.
Meetu paid Rs 5 per passenger.
Marketed by a Haryana-based company, ‘Bricky’ rickshaws come with three batteries of 12 volt each and run at the maximum speed of 20 kph. One charging allows a ride of 5-6 hours or about 60-70 km.
The ‘operator’ simply sits on the seat, turns on the ignition key, and the rickshaw is all set to run.
J.S. Jubbal, managing director of the company that manufactures Brickys, says there are 11 such rickshaws operating near Taj Mahal. About 20 Brickys have been introduced in other areas of the city, including Fatehabad Road and around Radha Swami Mandir in Dayalbagh area.
While Bricky is faster than the traditional rickshaw and saves physical labour, it has its disadvantages.
Nawal Singh, a traditional rickshaw puller, says: “My daily earnings have come down from Rs 250-300 to Rs 100-150. Most of the visitors want to ride on battery-operated rickshaws.”
Mahesh, who earned his livelihood from traditional rickshaw for 20 years before graduating to the battery-run one, says reduced physical labour would also mean that he would slowly lose his fitness and stamina.
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