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Global Transport Atlas

GTA-154 Bangladesh, Rickshaws in Dhaka


Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

Bangladesh, Dacca, NMT, bicycles

Rickshaws in Bangladesh an Invaluable Form of Transport and Employment Rickshaws are virtually the only form of transport produced in Bangladesh. They are inexpensive to make, require no fuel to operate, provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of the poor, and provide safe, inexpensive, and convenient door-to-door transport, particularly valuable to women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Despite these advantages, government officials portray rickshaws as slow-moving vehicles that hamper the movement of other vehicles, contributing to traffic jams and air pollution despite being nonpolluting. City government has banned rickshaws from several streets of Dhaka, and plans to ban them from many more. Meanwhile, a recent government report has shown that rickshaw travel in Dhaka can often be faster than travel by bus. August 2012 Page 1

This is a re-issue of a 2006 document.

Sources: Ziaur Rahman Litu (WBB Trust) Debra Efroymson (Healthbridge) Robert Bartlett (Ed.)

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GTA-154 : Bangladesh, Rickshaws in Dhaka


Government officials also call rickshaw pulling an inhumane profession, but rather than work at modifying the rickshaw design, they instead suggest banning them, despite the fact that unemployment rates are already extremely high. As air and noise pollution and the price of fuel continue to rise, there is a clear need for fuel-free transport. Rickshaws play an invaluable role in the transport system of Dhaka and all of Bangladesh, providing transport for people, moving large quantities of goods, and creating much-needed employment for the most vulnerable groups. The use of rickshaws may be frowned upon as backward by some people in Bangladesh. This is in contrast to young entrepreneurs in many European cities, where rickshaws are being introduced for the transport of both people and goods - examples can be found in London, Hamburg, Paris and Milan. Staff of WBB Trust have prepared a design for an improved rickshaw. Their aim was to provide a machine which was more comfortable for the passenger; they plan to continue revising the design to make it easier for the puller as well. WBB would be happy to provide interested persons with further details of their design - please contact the person and email address given on page 6 of this document.

Global Transport Atlas Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

Rickshaws in Dacca - typical dimensions of standard and WBB rickshaws


Country Date Vehicle Length Width Speed Capacity Bangladesh June 2006 standard rickshaw 2438 mm 1168 mm 13.4 km/hr normally 2 passengers but often 3 or 4

Country Date Vehicle Length Width Speed Capacity

Bangladesh June 2006 WBB rickshaw 2338 mm 1143 mm ~ 13.4 km/hr

Notes 1. Speed measured by WBB Trust in a survey on Dhaka streets in 2000. 2. Dimensions are basic vehicle dimensions - the dimensions of the vehicle in use can be quite different, as the examples show.

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Global Transport Atlas Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

RICKSHAWS IN DACCA / 1 Mobile shopping Much fresh produce and various other products are sold throughout Bangladesh off of rickshaw vans. This provides a convenient service to people who do not need to travel to a store in order to do their daily shopping, and ensures a living for the vendors.

Image 01

Pepsi Despite anti-rickshaw propaganda, even multinational companies frequently make use of rickshaw vans to move their goods at a far lower price than would be possible using motorized transport. Even refrigerators and other bulky and heavy items are frequently transported at very low cost by rickshaws.

Image 02

Construction goods Rather than using trucks to move all objects, rickshaw vans take a major share of transporting freight, even construction goods. With ever-rising prices of fuel, this helps reduce the cost to the consumer, though unfortunately with spreading rickshaw bans, the ability to use such inexpensive transport is rapidly diminishing in Dhaka.

Image 03

Moving house Even in expensive neighbourhoods where most families own a car, rickshaw vans are still a preferred mode of moving household goods including furniture, due to their easy manoeuvrability on small streets, low cost, and ready availability.

Image 04

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Global Transport Atlas Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

RICKSHAWS IN DACCA / 2 School van While upper class children now generally travel to school by car, creating huge traffic jams throughout the city, other children continue to travel in a more traditional and less space-consuming style, by rickshaw van. The children enjoy the company of their friends, and are far more a part of the street environment than if they were travelling by car.

Image 05

Rickshaw street Prior to the rickshaw ban on Mirpur Road (a major shopping street in Dhaka), rickshaws were a main form of transport for both people and goods. Following the ban, rickshaw and van pullers income have dropped from 32-41%, and travel costs have increased by 15%.

Image 06

Produce transport While many goods are moved by rickshaw van, much is moved by the traditional rickshaw. Though pedaling the rickshaw in the hot sun and through the difficult traffic conditions of Dhaka is unpleasant, rickshaw pulling represents an invaluable source of income for the poor and uneducated.

Image 07

Standard rickshaw The traditional Bangladeshi rickshaw has not changed its design in decades. The design is difficult on the puller and uncomfortable for the passenger, as the seat is very narrow and often tilts slightly forward. Unfortunately far more effort is being spent on trying to ban rickshaws than on improving their design.

Image 08

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Global Transport Atlas Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

RICKSHAWS IN DACCA / 3 Improved rickshaw WBB strongly believes that both rickshaw design and rickshaw service should be improved, so that this environmentally-friendly, job-generating form of convenient and low-cost transport can be maintained in Dhaka and throughout the country. This design, with a wider seat and higher hood, is far more comfortable for the passenger.

Image 09

Elderly but hardly infirm Defying gravity, people show their ingenuity in many ways in developing countries that would never be seen in the more safety-conscious developed world. For the elderly passenger, this is the most inexpensive and easy way to move his goods.

Image 10

Trash collection Rickshaws come in different styles, from the standard rickshaw with seat and hood, to the van, and others that are an open or closed box for transporting goods, school children, or trash. These trash vans supplement the trucks used by the city, easily manoeuvring through the narrow streets of much of the city, and providing a source of income to many low-income people, including children.

Image 11

Goods transport This is a common rickshaw design, a closed box that is commonly used for moving such varied items as bread, biscuits, milk products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Often the brand name of the product or store is painted on the van, so that the transport also serves as an advertisement.

Image 12

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About the contributors
Ziaur Rahman Litu (Bangladesh) info@wbbtrust.org Project Assistant for the Roads for People program of WBB Trust (Work for a Better Bangladesh), Litu has been involved in organizing demonstrations for people-focused road policies, conducting and writing up surveys on bicycle use in Dhaka, networking with members of the Roads for People alliance, contributing to WBB publications on road policy issues, supporting logistics for seminars, workshops, and trainings, giving training on promotion of cycling, and supporting a program to give children street space for cycling. Litu also serves as video and still photographer.

Global Transport Atlas Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

About the organisations


WBB Trust http://www.wbbtrust.org WBB Trust (Work for a Better Bangladesh) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization which was founded in 1998. Work for a Better Bangladesh is a slogan as well as a name, reflecting our belief that everyone can contribute to making a better Bangladesh. The mission of WBB is to facilitate the passage and implementation of policies to create an environment that promotes health and social interactions for all members of society, and in which government provides quality education, health care and other essential services to all for free. WBB envisions cities and communities in which workplaces, schools, shops and recreational facilities are mostly within walking distance, in which children can play outdoors and walk to school safely, and in which outdoor public spaces are attractive and easily accessible for all. WBB envisions a policy environment that treats water as an essential resource to be protected, and which seeks to reduce pollution and to prioritize health over economic growth.

Debra Efroymson, Regional Director, HealthBridge (Bangladesh) debra@healthbridge.ca Author and co-author of several publications on transport policy, speaker at international conferences and local workshops, and consultant to the WBB Roads for People program, Debra also supports people-oriented transport projects and programs aimed at promoting ecocities in other countries. Debra speaks Spanish, French, Bengali, Vietnamese, and Nepali in addition to her native English.

Healthbridge http://www.healthbridge.ca HealthBridge is an international, non-profit, nongovernmental organization that identifies, analyzes, and bridges gaps in public health, including gaps between: Needs and technologies Evidence and policies Policies and practice HealthBridge has been working since 1982 in Asia, Africa and the Americas. It is an agile and efficient organization that aims to improve the health of vulnerable populations, including those at risk of malnutrition, infectious disease (particularly malaria and HIV/AIDS), and emerging epidemics, such as obesity and tobacco-related disease. HealthBridge helps local partners develop and implement appropriate solutions, apply innovative and sustainable practices, and promote effective policies.

Robert Bartlett roadnotes2@gmail.com is an experienced transportation and urban development studies engineer with over 25 years of professional experience. Current engineering work: includes technical research in highway design standards and applications in areas such as urban planning and highway engineering. Interests include applied GIS.

This is a re-issue of a 2006 document.

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Global Transport Atlas Series 1 - Global Transport Notes

Cover notes and Disclaimer


This is a research document. The best efforts have been made to make sure the figures are correct. However no liability can be taken for any of the details, information or analysis in this document. The layout, look and feel of this document is copyright. The photos are generally copyright of the WBB Trust. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

GTA documents series Global Transport Atlas is a project with two aims. One is
to encourage people around the world to share examples of how they actually use transport in their daily lives. The other is to compare and improve the design of transport infrastructure. There are the following GTA document series: Series 1 - global transport notes A collection of papers on transport infrastructure and vehicles from various countries, prepared by various authors and contributors. Typical size 2 to 3 pages. Series 3 - discussion papers

History and Change log


First version published 2006. Version 111.02-b (August 2012) - this version and version number, with modified layout and minor modifications to the content.

Papers with arguments and ideas on different aspects of modern transport and transport infrastructure. Series 7 - Dimensions of vehicles Transport infrastructure has to be defined with an idea of the size and types of vehicle which will use it. This series looks into the dimensions of different types of vehicle at different periods of time. Papers include technical discussion notes and example dimensions. Typical size 20 pages and more.

Contact
We welcome comments on this paper, and also on new developments in other countries in this field. Email: global.transport.atlas@gmail.com Web: http://globaltransportatlas.weebly.com/index.html

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