Auto rickshaw

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Autorickshaw in Ethiopia
Tuk-tuk as an advertising medium and tourist transport in Hermanus , South Africa

An autorickshaw is the motorized version of the original from Japan derived rickshaws . These are two- or three-wheeled small vehicles , either pulled by a person on foot or by a bicycle ( cycle rickshaw ), used to transport goods or people . Because of the typical engine noise of the previously conventional two-stroke engines they are onomatopoeic sometimes Tuk Tuk called.

Auto rickshaws have been a widespread form of taxi and transport in the Indian subcontinent , Southeast Asia , Arabia and Africa (e.g. in Egypt and Kenya ) since the late 20th century . Since the new millennium, auto rickshaws have been increasingly used in many places in Europe as a means of transport for tourists .

Vehicle technology

Piaggio Ape

An auto rickshaw typically has three wheels - one in the front and two in the back. Behind the place for the driver it has either a closed or open cabin for the passengers, a loading area or a transport space. In addition, numerous models such as a motorcycle are controlled with a handlebar.

In addition, the concept is not precisely delimited. There are auto rickshaws produced in series from various manufacturers, the basic design of which mostly corresponds to the Piaggio Ape . The structures assembled in small workshops, on the other hand, often consist of the front part and engine of a moped or motorcycle and an attached frame with two wheels and, depending on the base vehicle, are significantly more powerful and faster than the industrially manufactured models. With these buildings, the boundary to a motorcycle with a sidecar is sometimes blurred.

In the past, auto rickshaws were usually equipped with two-stroke petrol engines. In older models, the engine is in the front, in newer models it is in the back below the passenger cabin. Modern versions are operated with natural gas or LPG or are equipped with an electric drive .


Autorickshaws are an integral part of road traffic in India and an important economic factor. India is the world's largest market for tricycles, with sales in 2005 of 307,887 units, with annual growth (over the previous five years) of 14%. 44% of the vehicles are sold for the transport of goods and 56% for the transport of people.

In 2008 a vehicle population of 2.5 million was assumed. For Delhi the number of vehicles is given as 70,000. The number of auto rickshaws in Bangalore was 69,939 in 2009, including the suburbs as much as 125,000 (for comparison: in October 1978 it was 10,549 and in 1985 it was 19,333).

Autorickshaws accounted for 16% of the traffic in 2002. For auto rickshaws used as taxis in Delhi, the figure for 2001 is 2%.

The Indian market is dominated by the manufacturers Bajaj Auto and Piaggio .

Autorickshaw maker and market share in India
Manufacturer Market share
Market share
Number of
units produced in 2017–18
Bajaj car 51% 58.15% 369,637
Piaggio 26% 24.05% 152.879
Force Motors 8th % - -
Mahindra & Mahindra 7% 8.59% 54,625
Atul car 6.19% 39,333
TVS Motor Co. - 2.58% 16,429
Scooter India 0.44% 6536

Auto rickshaws in India usually have a payload of between 0.5 and 1.0 tons and usually have single-cylinder engines with 5-10 hp that run on gasoline, diesel or natural gas. Their top speed is 50 km / h and consumption is usually 3.3 to 5.5 liters per 100 km. Models based on the Harley-Davidson WLA have been around since the 1940s , which were called 'Phat-Phati' because of their engine sound, and their use has been banned since 1998.

For unionized drivers at least, only a quarter of drivers own the vehicle. The drivers are often under high financial and bureaucratic pressure.

Autorickshaws are almost exclusively driven by men. In Delhi , Sunita Chaudhary became known as the first female driver among around 60,000 male colleagues.


In the mid-1990s, auto rickshaws had an 82.7% share of local public transport in Delhi. In July 1998 the Supreme Court of India (certain Supreme Court of India ) that all auto rickshaws and public buses of the city Delhi to run on natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas must be converted. However, this also went hand in hand with a previously limited granting of licenses for auto rickshaws, apart from more difficult working conditions such as the procurement effort for the fuel. As a result, a significant reduction in emissions from the autorickshaws was recorded. Between 1997 and 2010, the absolute number of auto rickshaws in Delhi also decreased.

At the same time, ever increasing vehicle traffic meant that New Delhi in 2015 still had the highest particulate matter pollution of all cities in the world.


Autorickshaws used as taxis are only involved in a very small percentage of fatal accidents; however, the absolute numbers are considered high. The lack of safety equipment (seat belts, airbags, soft surfaces) in these vehicles is criticized. In 2014, 6,300 of the 140,000 road deaths in India were caused by auto rickshaws.


In Pakistan, the use of the simple motorcycle and trailer rickshaws known as qingqi is strictly regulated. Autorickshaws are prohibited in Islamabad . In Karachi , the auto rickshaw has a share of 15% of total traffic (in 1996 it was 58.4%). At the same time, it is one of the loudest modes of transport.

With Sazgar there is a domestic manufacturer of auto rickshaws in Pakistan, which are also exported to Japan.

South East Asia

Cycle rickshaws ( becaks ) and regular taxis are also common in Indonesia . In the capital Jakarta , the cycle rickshaws called becak , in contrast to the auto rickshaws also called bajaj , have been banned for a long time. In the Philippines , the autorickshaws are called tricycles.

In Thailand , auto rickshaws are also called samlor ( Thai: สามล้อ , spoken: [ sǎːm-lɔ́ː ]).

Thai manufacturers of auto rickshaws are or were Tuk Tuk Forwarder , Chinnaraje , Monika Motors and Expertise , among others .

The number of tuk-tuks has decreased significantly in recent years. Especially in Bangkok, taxis, which are air-conditioned, more comfortable and not more expensive, compete with these traditional vehicles. The Bangkok Skytrain and the Bangkok Metro also contribute to the relaxation of the traffic situation, which is increasingly taking away the specific advantage of the tuk-tuks. In addition, specialized motorcycle taxis (125 cm³) are very popular for short trips.

other countries

Autorickshaw in Egypt (2020)

In Egypt, the beginning of the import of auto rickshaws can be dated fairly precisely to the year 2000. Since then, they have played an important economic role. The social function - for all of Africa - and the driving role of the manufacturer Bajaj are also underlined.

More than 400,000 auto rickshaws were in use in Peru in 2018. The term mototaxi has established itself in Peru and has now also found its way into the DRAE . The term is described there as a three-wheeled motorcycle with a roof, which is used in local traffic. Bajaj brand auto rickshaws are common . Around 100,000 auto rickshaws are sold in Peru each year.

In Europe, auto rickshaws are now used as advertising media or in tourism. Equipment and comfort are adapted to the clientele: the body is painted in bright colors and trimmed with chrome, a softly padded bench and an LC screen are available to users. An automatic transmission shifts the two-stroke engines. Problems arise, for example, from the additional noise pollution, especially because many drivers drive into streets and alleys that are actually closed to car traffic.


The drivers are usually characterized negatively in Bollywood films, they are the villains who kidnap passengers or at least rob them of their money. An exception is the auto rickshaw driver portrayed by the Tamil actor Rajinikanth , who appears as a great benefactor in the film Baasha . Accordingly, pictures of the actor can often be seen at the auto rickshaws in the state of Tamil Nadu .

In the 13th James Bond film Octopussy , Bond and another agent escape their enemies in an auto rickshaw. In Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited , Bill Murray, an unknown sales representative, is driven to the train station in an auto rickshaw at breakneck speed.

In the 2007 Canadian feature film Amal by Richie Mehta, the focus is on a humble auto rickshaw driver who aims to preserve the legacy of a billionaire.


Recently, a few auto rickshaws have proven their capabilities as expedition vehicles on the way from Asia to Europe, for example with Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent in 2006 from Bangkok to Brighton and in 2007 from Darjeeling to London .

The Rickshaw Run has been held every year since 2006 across India, Sri Lanka or the Himalayas. In 2012/2013 two teachers completed a world-wide record drive - around 42,000 km in 16 months - from London.

In February 2016, the automotive electronics engineer Naveen Rabelli started his tour from Bangalore , the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka , to Bombay ; from there by ship to Bandar Abbas in Iran and on via Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France to London, where he arrived in September 2016. The special thing about his vehicle is the type of drive: an electric motor driven by three lithium-ion batteries , supported by photovoltaic panels on the roof of the vehicle. The range of the batteries is approx. 60 kilometers at an average speed of 40 km / h. From Easter 2017 Rabelli's electric rickshaw will be exhibited in the Swiss Museum of Transport (VHS) in Lucerne .

See also

Web links

Commons : Autorickshaw  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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