Auto rickshaw

An auto rickshaw is a motorized version of the pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw. Most have three wheels and do not tilt. They are known by many terms in various countries including auto, auto rickshaw, baby taxi, mototaxi, pigeon, jonnybee, bajaj, chand gari, lapa, tuk-tuk, Keke-napep, Maruwa, 3wheel, pragya, bao-bao and tukxi.

Motorized version of the rickshaw
An auto rickshaw in Sri Lanka

The auto rickshaw is a common form of urban transport, both as a vehicle for hire and for private use, in many countries around the world. They are especially common in countries with tropical or subtropical climates, since they usually are not fully enclosed, and in many developing countries because they are relatively inexpensive to own and operate. As of 2019, Bajaj Auto of Pune, India is the world’s largest auto rickshaw manufacturer, selling 780,000 during the fiscal year.[1]

There are many different auto rickshaw designs. The most common type is characterized by a sheet-metal body or open frame resting on three wheels; a canvas roof with drop-down side curtains; a small cabin at the front for the driver (in India, the Autokaarar, auto-wallah or tuktuk-wallah), with handlebar controls; and a cargo, passenger, or dual purpose space at the rear. Another common type is a motorcycle that has an expanded sidecar or, less often, is pushing or pulling a passenger compartment.

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Daihatsu Midget Model DKA

In the 1930s Japan, which was the most industrialized country in east Asia at the time, encouraged the development of motorized vehicles including less expensive three-wheeled vehicles based on motorcycles. The Mazda-Go, a 3-wheel open “truck” released in 1931,[2] is often considered the first of what became auto rickshaws. Later that decade the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Japan distributed about 20,000 used three-wheelers to Southeast Asia as part of efforts to expand its influence in the region.[3][4][5][6] They became popular in some areas, especially Thailand, which developed local manufacturing and design after the Japanese government abolished the three-wheeler license in Japan in 1965 .[7]

Production in Southeast Asia started from the knockdown production of the Daihatsu Midget, which was introduced in 1959.[8] An exception is the indigenously-modified Philippine tricycle, which originates from the RikuoType 97 motorcycle with a sidecar, introduced to the islands in 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.[9]

In Europe, Corradino D’Ascanio, aircraft designer at Piaggio and inventor of the Vespa, came up with the idea of building a light three-wheeled commercial vehicle to power Italy’s post-war economic reconstruction. The Piaggio Ape followed suit in 1947.

Locally named the “toktok,” the rickshaw is used to provide transportation in most parts of Egypt.

Together with the recent boom of recreational facilities in Gaza for the local residents, donkey carts have all but been displaced by tuk-tuks in 2010. Due to the ban by Egypt and Israel on the import of most motorised vehicles, the tuk-tuks have had to be smuggled in parts through the tunnel network connecting Gaza with Egypt.[10]

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