AHMEDABAD: "Hun Amdavad no rickshaw walo, 999 number walo...Amdavad batavu chalo" went a popular Kishore Kumar song in Gujarati of the eighties.
Soon, if you need to be shown around Ahmedabad, all you need to do is dial 109 to find a swanky rickshaw at your doorstep.
This will be officially called the ‘Modi Rickshaw', as the concept is the brain-child of the Gujarat chief minister himself.
If 'Dial 108' changed the face of medical emergency services in the state, the state government is now set to float a 'Dial-a-Rick' concept sometime later this year.
The vehicles will have a distinct colour scheme, different than the green-yellow combo of the existing three-wheelers.
"We want to encourage people to go for public transport. The Modi-Rickshaw will offer services like call-on-board, newspapers, bottled water and music.
The government will offer subsidies to owner-driver ricksha-wallahs, who will be trained as tourist guides.
If this works, people will take pride in travelling by a rickshaw because of the premium attached to it," said a CM aide.
The first phase of the project will have a fleet of around 250 rickshaws in Ahmedabad who will be bound by a contract and a fixed tariff plan. The project will be replicated in other cities later.
"We have worked out a unique colour scheme for the vehicles as well as uniforms for the drivers, who will double up as tourist guides. The drivers will become ambassadors of the city," he said.
The state government will also help Modi-rickshaws get sponsorships. Rickshaw owners having large fleets won't qualify for the project.
"We are in talks with union ministry of telecommunications for a toll-free number for the service. Hopefully, we'll get the necessary clearances by Diwali," he said.
As per the plan, the state government wanted to dedicate the service before Diwali but it may take a little more time.
6 months ago