Qing Qi rickshaws cannot be checked for modifications in design or for carrying passengers beyond capacity because the Lahore Transport Company is yet to specify rules and regulations regarding the status of the vehicle.
The LTC rules currently treat these rickshaws as ‘motorcycles’ and have no specifications either for the size of the motorcycle chassis or the height or width of the carriage.
This prevents traffic wardens from penalising drivers for carrying too many passengers or modifications in design that obstruct riders’ view – both increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Several drivers lately have started displaying advertisement boards on two or all three sides of their vehicle. This, they say, helps them earn some extra money above what they make from fares.
Sajjad Aslam said Qing Qi rickshaws were not allowed on most major routes in the city. “Earnings from passengers are decreasing day by day. There’s no way we can make a decent living without displaying ads on rickshaws,” he said. He said most riders had invested their life savings in buying the rickshaw and were dependent on it to feed their families.
Some riders have modified the motorcycle chassis allowing them to carry up to two pillion riders.
Several wardens The Tribune talked to said they could not penalise riders for these modifications until the LTC set standards prohibiting these for Qing Qi rickshaws. They said they could issue tickets to Qing Qi rickshaws only for traffic violations.
SP (City) Mustafa Hameed Malik said traffic police had asked the LTC to specify standards for Qing Qi rickshaws in two weeks. He said currently most wardens were told to be lenient with rickshaws carrying passengers beyond capacity or putting up advertisement boards or other modifications obstructing view.
An LTC official told The Tribune that the company had sought a few weeks to finalise rules and regulations for Qing Qi rickshaws. Meanwhile, they said, police had been advised to adopt a soft policy for these rickshaws.
LTC chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan also confirmed that no deadline had yet been identified for the formulation of rules and regulations. He, however, said the matter was long due and standards were needed so that the vehicles could be stopped from making against dangerous modifications.
Hassaan said he believed only a small number of Qing Qi owners had modified the original design or put up ads.
About an LTC campaign to ban Qing Qi rickshaws in the city, Hassaan said such a step would be taken only after an alternative was made available to meet the needs of passengers on routes currently being served by Qing Qi rickshaws. He said the LTC intended to replace rickshaws with busses on these routes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2011
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