Rickshaws: WHY?

Last month, I was returning home after picking my wife from her office. As I turned into the road leading up from National Stadium, I saw there was a lot of traffic, a lot more than usual. It was the harbinger of an accident. A little further down, I saw an overturned rickshaw, with what appeared to be 1 dead body lying on the road, and another dead body being exticated for the rickshaw by a few passersby. There was a pool of blood around the rickshaw, and no doubt that this accident left no survivors.

Since there were so many people already standing around the rickshaw, and traffic was at a crawl, therefore instead of stopping I went on ahead towards my home. But don’t make the mistake that I forgot that scene ina hurry. This was actually the first accident where I had seen dead bodies, and it gave me nightmares at night. I read in the paper 2 days later that the rickshaw driver and the woman were pronounced dead at the hospital.

This brings me to a question which I have wondered for so long. Why do single women as well as small groups of women and girls (2-3) prefer to ride in a rickshaw instead of a taxi? I think this is very very wrong. The main reason I get from girls is that they ride in rickshaws because it is open and they can jump out if anyone tries to kidnap them. However, I have never heard of any taxi driver trying to kidnap a woman sitting in a taxi. And even if he did try, you can still open the door and jump out. However, I have heard loads of stories about rickshaws overturning or being involved in accidents. Considering that a rickshaw is nothing more than a motorcycle with a wooden body and a cloth top, it is very dangerous to be in if there is an accident. A person can get thrown out, crushed, even get a fatal head injury.

In my opinion, it is safer and more statistically sound to be in a taxi than a rickshaw. Further, these rickshaws are one of the main causes of noise pollution in Karachi. By not riding in them, and boycotting them, we can be one step closer to a better city.

Rickshaws! We don’t need you! Go away please!

22 Comments so far

  1. Tee (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

    it sure is a sad incident and no doubt rickshwas have been the cause of many fatal accidents.
    as far as young girls and women preferring a rickshaw over a taxi is concerned then yes it does feel much safer. no concrete reason, i guess its just psychlogical coz i doubt if anyone would really try to jump off a rickshaw!
    and then u shouldnt forget that we are a poor nation and the majority prefers rickshaws coz they are cheaper. instead of banning rickshaws altogether, something should be done to make em safer and yet keep the cost affordable! (what an idealistic thought!)


  2. eluXzion (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

    indeed it is sad. however, it is not uncommon to have women pack themselves in a rickshaw, and end up with a backache after long rides, which they could have so comfortably done in a taxi, without all 3 of them getting crammed in.

    on the other side, NO… a rickshaw is no more cheaper than a taxi. if you ask the rates, you’ll end up rather puzzled as to why both, rickshaw and taxi drivers, ask for the same rate.

    i once had a debate over this with a rickshaw driver on this, and he said no matter what you think and no matter what the size or discomfort that you face when riding a rickshaw, you will find us asking the same rate…. why?? no apparent reason, just because they want to and they will…

    therefore, i prefer taxis. why should i, although being just one person travelling to any place alone, fit myself in a rickety ride, instead of a rather comfortable cushioned ride, with no reason to topple over, unless by severe accident. i’ll even pay a little bit extra, just to make sure that i avoid that slight bit of risk, God forbid it would happen.

    so that’s how i look at things.


  3. misha (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    A rickshaw is more open, ventilation and all, which is important in hot summer days. Additionally, a rickshaw provides the illusions of relative safety because yes, you can actually jump out of a rickshaw should it be attempting to kidnap you. Rickshaws are also not capable of the same speeds as taxis, which is why I say that it is possible to jump out of a rickshaw with minor scrapes and bruises.

    As far as accidents go, I don’t think we can blame rickshaws for it. If you think the rickshaw’s going to fast, you’re at complete liberty to tell him to go slowly. After all, slow or fast, the rate is predetermined and will remain the same. Most bus drivers drive much more recklessly than any rickshaw or taxi drivers but that doesn’t mean we stop them altogether.


  4. yo yo (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

    Its is the curse of not developing a sound mass transit system.

    We used to have Tram service and Local trains but instead of moving to some metro style subway we have ended up with nothing at all.

    I think we should start where we left off by introducing atleast prompt local trains again.


  5. khanana (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 4:09 am

    well whatever may be the reasons but rickshaw is not a safe ride at all.
    It should be banned to ensure not even traffic safety but also to reduce smoke from our roads.


  6. Jay the big J (Jamash) (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 9:45 am

    I do agree Rickshaw is not a very safe ride, and as far as the sense of security is concerned for the women and young women of Pakistan, I do believe that our society has yet to provide the women that privilege. A taxi ride for anyone is very safe provided that proper caution like sitting behind the Driver and keeping an eye of where the driver is taking the passenger is practiced and as far as the kidnapping is concerned anyone can be kidnapped and I don’t think a rickshaw is anything safe in that matter, a rickshaw driver can also kidnap anyone as easily as a taxi driver provided he is given a chance. And no you cant jump from a moving rickshaw without a risk of life threatening injury.


  7. Turab (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 9:46 am

    I think there should be more awareness and strict regulations which are strictly imposed!!
    TRUCK BUS TAXI RICKSHAW, doesn’t matter…..
    Increase awareness and more stiff checking and ticketings


  8. Huma (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 9:47 am

    Isn’t its cheaper to ride a Rickshaw than Taxi? Well it used to be, haven’t riden anything for a while.


  9. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 11:28 am

    @Huma:Not a big difference.I often go to my office at Press club from hyderi in both rickshaw and taxi and difference is 20-30 Rs only.

    as far as rickshaws are safe or not,bikes are not safe either.Most of accidents takes place in karachi due to bikers and yeah ladies drivers too.

    I personally prefer that ladies shoudn’t be allowed to come on road with cars as they are most horrible drivers.

    As i read in papers,by 2007 they all will be banned and you will see new CNG rickshaws and cabs on roads.If delhi can do it then why not us?


  10. BQ (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 12:36 pm

    riskshaw is surely not safe but one thing should be kept in mind that they charge less as compared to taxi

    so ppl do prefer rikshaws to move arround


  11. misha (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

    Rs. 20-30 difference is fairly substantial, in my opinion.

    Adnan, you must be kidding, the worst drivers by far are the bus/truck drivers and young boys. The recklessness with which they veer around blind corners scares the crap out of me, and every other day there’s some car smashed to bits at or near the main seaview roads due to the relatively lihter traffic in the deserted areas.


  12. Kashif Aziz (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

    Nobody really pondered on the cause of that accident. Was it really rickshaw driver’s fault? I certainly doubt it. I have travelled a lot in rickshaws and they are as law-abiding and safe-drivers as the bikers, zooming in and around the heavy traffic. If they are to be banned, so ban the bike-riders as well.

    Rickshaws are safe for women travelling alone, because I have heard several incidents when women were kidnapped in taxis by men jumping in passenger seats beside them but no such incident have been reported yet for the rickshaws.


  13. Zain (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

    Look at Dubai, last year they decide to have this train system, work has already started and they have given a date by the year 2009.

    Look at Bangkok, ten or so years back they did not even have a single track, no sign of the famous Bangkok skytrain and look now what they have built.

    Please CDGK wake up and see whats going on around the city. Last night I was a program on Business Plus and the way you guys were responding to Yawar Hilaly was pathetic.. Open your eyes..


  14. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 9th, 2006 @ 4:08 am

    @misha i am not kidding,are you gonan claim that women drivers are very good drivers?I personally experienced more than one time thst how worst they drive car,like once i was going to home with frineds,i saw a car in very slow speed ,less than 40 was on SF,and there was huge traffic approaching towards karsaz,what I saw tht lady driver was fighting with other ladies sitting behind.God this is just insane.Not only that,its a universal problem with ladies drivers.

    as far as rickshaws are concerned,mos of rickshaw demands more than what they deserve so its better to go in taxi rather richskaw and experience pollution.


  15. Mujeeb (unregistered) on April 9th, 2006 @ 9:33 am

    I am with Misha, the most dangerous drivers are bus/minibus/truck drivers and somewhat bikers are too irresponsible.

    @Adnan, what do you have against women? Who told you they are big problem elsewhere? FYI my sister, mother, wife and now niece all are better drivers than their male relatives including me :). I have seen some people treat them like trash when they are on the road but such is life. Statistically its young drivers specially boys considered to be high risk. In the US, Insurance rates for teenage male drivers are very high as they are responsible for half of the accidents.

    If you have a problem with their driving skills then try to establish laws regarding Drivers Education and boy those mini bus drivers do need to learn how to drive?

    As for traffic improvement mentoned above yes we need mass light rail kinda transit system. But it costs money and our people are too busy with useless religious politics that until one can discover oil well in their backyard we cant do anything about it.


  16. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 10th, 2006 @ 11:57 am

    Mujeeb who is talking about individuals,if it was like that,I could name few from my own family.Most of truck/bus drivers are either drunk or *pathan* type,have no sense of traffic laws so you can’t expect something better from them.That is other thing law makers dont care about it.

    What i mentioned about ladies drivers is not a lie at all,you cant claim that female drivers are more pro than men,fighting in car is the perfect example of ignorance among ladies driver


  17. Mujeeb (unregistered) on April 11th, 2006 @ 5:21 am

    @Adnan

    Mujeeb who is talking about individuals, if it was like that, I could name few from my own family.

    Well, you are talking about some women (individuals) who are fighting, but most of the ladies I know and see on the road are very good drivers. The women authors of this Karachi Metro Blog, who I am sure, are very competative drivers.

    So what are you implying they are not Men because in your words Most of truck/bus drivers are either drunk or *pathan* type,have no sense of traffic laws so you can’t expect something better from them. and does it make them above the law.

    I don’t understand why you’ve wrote pathan under * *. I am not Pathan but still find it kinda offensive so imagine how Pathans will feel.

    If all the lady drivers are that bad then why the traffic conditions in the Saudi Arabia are so worst, where one ar not allowed to drive. Try not to think like Zia (Jamaat-e-Islami) style, after thinking above it you’ll find who are the real culprits here.

    If we all think like your logic then say Men are invovle in more crimes so let’s put all in jail or they shouldn’t be allow outside their homes. See how dumb it sounds. We see case by case and then look for a solution. Most underdeveloped countries got these traffic problems from India to Egypt and South America. Even in developed countries during rush hours people behave quite irresponsibly but traffic police keep check on them. Whoever found guilty in breaking the traffic laws had to pay quite heavily in terms of jail or money or both.

    Next time ponder then blame women OR pathans. BTW what you have against women and pathans? If you get a chance try to visit Saudi Arabia and see how their Society is stand still due to noninvolvement of women. They are very rich due to Oil and Hajj income still most of their population is not happy about it.


  18. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 9:41 am

    u have come up with totally irrelevent example that is saudia,saudis didnt allow women NOT because they were not goood drivers but since they think its against shiariah,brush up your knowledge.

    I gave you example of some individuals because if i start writing about diffrent incidents then it will take hours to write about.You need to comeup with a referrence that ladies in general are good drivers,nobody cares if ur family ladies are members of Formula One race.


  19. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 9:44 am

    I am not against free of women,women in my families are professionals,doctors,engineers,Chartered Accountants etc,the rate might be more than your own family.If i say they r not good drivers,does it mean I am preaching theories of Zia?lol,you are hilarious man.As i said on other post,spend your time with laymen rather playing with ladies of your family.Have fun.No more response to your babbling


  20. Mujeeb (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 4:22 am

    @ Adnan
    If can’t take it then don’t fight.

    BTW what do you have against woman? Last I check you have atleast one great woman in your life. You are comparing apples and oranges; bad traffic with women drivers. You want all women off the road. I guess you’ve forgotten your comment so I am putting it here again.

    @Huma:Not a big difference.I often go to my office at Press club from hyderi in both rickshaw and taxi and difference is 20-30 Rs only.

    as far as rickshaws are safe or not,bikes are not safe either.Most of accidents takes place in karachi due to bikers and yeah ladies drivers too.

    I personally prefer that ladies shoudn’t be allowed to come on road with cars as they are most horrible drivers.

    As i read in papers,by 2007 they all will be banned and you will see new CNG rickshaws and cabs on roads.If delhi can do it then why not us?

    Posted by: Adnan Siddiqi at April 8, 2006 11:28 AM,/i>

    @misha i am not kidding,are you gonan claim that women drivers are very good drivers?I personally experienced more than one time thst how worst they drive car,like once i was going to home with frineds, i saw a car in very slow speed ,less than 40 was on SF,and there was huge traffic approaching towards karsaz,what I saw tht lady driver was fighting with other ladies sitting behind.God this is just insane. Not only that,its a universal problem with ladies drivers.

    as far as rickshaws are concerned,mos of rickshaw demands more than what they deserve so its better to go in taxi rather richskaw and experience pollution.

    Posted by: Adnan Siddiqi at April 9, 2006 04:08 AM

    Now don’t say it its a universal problem until you have encountered it. Well you want Ladies off the road but don’t want to do anything with truckers because they are Pathan or drunk and you still want them on the road though you claim they have no sense of the road. This Zia talk man whatever you say its the way Zia want all of are youngsters no brainless and Jammati.

    Mujeeb who is talking about individuals,if it was like that,I could name few from my own family.Most of truck/bus drivers are either drunk or *pathan* type,have no sense of traffic laws so you can’t expect something better from them. That is other thing law makers dont care about it.


  21. Mujeeb (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 4:37 am

    Adnan

    As i said on other post, spend your time with laymen rather playing with ladies of your family.Have fun.

    This is the response I am waiting for a long time from your pea brain. Now I know why you are so dumb. Sorry budy have no idea that you lack a softer touch in your life.

    I am right, aren’t not calling you Jamaati, as you are not pissed at it. Well what are your current activities besides spraying bleach on young girls in colleges and universities. Well this your comrades use to do when Zia was in power. Maybe you’ve learned other techniques, since you got internet connection (western invention) at your hand.


  22. Hasan Atizaz (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

    in my opinion rickshaws should b banned as they r a big source of noise and smoke pollution, govt should doo something abt ittt…



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