August 28, 2003 

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Bike-taxi services, Vellarada, Thiruvananthapuram

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7 years ago, a resourceful youth of Vellarada, Thiruvananthapuram thought of a new and legitimate means to earn a livelihood.  His idea: start a bike-taxi service at Vellarada junction.  His two-wheeler taxi gave the cue to other unemployed local youth and today there is a group of 28 bike-taxis here.

Initially they had to face opposition from organised autorickshaw drivers, who filed a complaint with the local police.  However, nothing much could come out of it as anyone with a two-wheeler driving license can carry another in pillion.  P.Joseph, a widower with 2 children bought a bike to take his child suffering from heart ailment, to the Medical College.  Today bike-taxi is this rubber tapping labourer’s livelihood. 

While parallel services by medium vehicles supplements the lack of bus services, they do not operate late at night.  It is here that the bike-taxis have their advantage.  They are available from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm.

These bikes levy a charge of Rs.2.50 per km, which is less than autorickshaw fare, and much less than taxi fare.  The bike-taxi drivers earn Rs.250 per day on an average.

Even the women folk in the Panchayat have welcomed two-wheeler taxis.  “But they will only get on the bike of a guy whom they know,” says Joseph.

The bike-taxis of Vellarada


Courtesy: Yamini M.V, The New Indian Express, July 26, 2003

Contributed by: Administrator


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