Microcars arrive in autorickshaw colours

New entrant

 The three-wheeled autorickshaws in the city have some competition from four-wheeled microvans – three units of which have already started ferrying passengers.

Apart from an extra-wheel and seat belts for the co-passenger on the front seat, nothing related to the fare metre or rates are different from the existing one lakh autorickshaws.“Like autorickshaws, the CNG-run microvans are allowed to carry only three passengers. Two in the rear and one in the front seat next to the driver,” said a transport department official.

Just as autorickshaws, the microvans also have one exit on the left for the passengers in the rear seat. The driver and the passenger on the front seat have independent doors for entry and exit.

“These vehicles are safer and more stable than three-wheeler scooter rickshaws due to an all-metal body,” said an official.

In the coming months, there is a possibility of Delhiites also getting to use quadricycles – low, four-wheeled mini-cars with a motorcycle engine – as autorickshaws.

“Quadricycles have been given the go-ahead by the central government as a legal mode of transport. After the manufacturers completed the formalities, these may also be considered for registration in city as a commercial alternative to autorickshaws,” said an official. 

Both microvans and quadricycles are concepts of two different automobile majors. The length of a microvan is 2,960 mm as compared to the existing three-wheeled autorickshaw’s 2,800 mm. The new vehicle is wider by around 400 mm as compared to the autorickshaw. Both the microvan and autorickshaw are of around 1,800 mm height.

A microvan is powered by a 600 cc engine and costs around Rs 2.2 lakh. The quadricycle is powered by a 175 cc motorcycle engine and costs around Rs 1.4 lakh.

The quadricycle weighs almost half of a microvan’s 680 kg. Microvans are already popular in neighbouring states as passenger vehicles. Bihar, Assam and Odisha also have a sizeable presence of these vehicles. 

 The city’s transport department is allowing autorickshaw drivers whose vehicles are due for a phase-out to switch to the new microvan rather than buying and plying a new three-wheeled autorickshaw.

 “Drivers can also opt for the microvan even if their autorickshaw is not due for a forced phase out after the age of 10 years. The microvan can be registered against the autorickshaw permit issued by the transport department,” said an official. 

Not many drivers have come forward to get a permit for the new vehicle after approval for it was given in April.

“Only a few autorickshaw drivers can drive a car using a steering wheel as they are used to the handheld gears and accelerator in a three-wheeler,” he said, explaining the reason for gradual entry of the new vehicle in the city.

The microvans have a hard roof as compared to the leather roofs used by autorickshaws.An official indicated that the new vehicles may also be considered for plying on soon-to-be issued permits to autorickshaws that carry commuters to National Capital Region towns.

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