Newspapers and BBC heralded their arrival as a fun thing, last month. There was a twinkle in the TV anchors ayes eyes and there was one in mine when I saw it…
Well, Well, our venerable auto-rickshaw has hit the UK streets. Tuctuc’s in Delhi were virtually old ‘bullet’ bikes towing a passenger compartment (or so I thought) and did sound ‘tuc tuc tuc’& carried more than 3 people. In Thailand, I recall, it was called the Tuc-tuc. Our Bajaj autos don’t tuc tuc by comparison, they just purr.
Well Domnic Ponnaih saw them in India and decided to bring them to Brighton UK, so he imported 12 Bajajs from Pune, upped the safety features (adding side bars and roll bars) converted the engine to natural gas…and Voila! hit the news. The fleet is now 12 big and expected to grow to cover London, rest of UK and then on to mainland Europe.
Drivers are supposed to be fun loving and have to wear a special uniform by a big name designer!! They have to know some tinkering (like our auto drivers – though not as far as the ones who ask you to get off so that they can lift one side of the auto to get the last drop of fuel into the system). No! I do not think they have been trained to sit at 45 deg to the handle, on a half bum. Oh! And they are allowed to hoot now and then to add to the fun….
Aha, it is available from 8AM to 2AM…no ‘oneandhalf’ fare terms like in Bangalore. Also for now, you can get a free toy & T Shirt if you ride one of those funny named brightly painted autos.
As for me, Brighton is too far away …So it still is reminiscences of the auto’s in India…I wont be surprised, if another Dominic comes up with a taxi-bike (like in Thailand) service to beat the traffic jams…
BTW, they are looking for drivers .
Pictures Courtsey Times, BBC, Tuctuc