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  • 1. Studies on Energy Consumption Pattern in Mechanized Van Rickshaws in West Bengal and the Problems Associated with these Vehicles Atanu Dutta*, Tushar Jash School of Energy Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700 032, India * Corresponding Author. Tel: 09883109114, 08697670040 Email: atanu.dutta07@gmail.com
  • 2. Introduction: In case of a highly populated country like India, the availability of vehicles is never adequate to fulfill the demands of the commuters. As a result, over-crowded buses with people hanging from the doors or people sitting dangerously at the roof tops of the buses is a common scenario, especially in the outskirts or the rural areas. To ease this pain, people have tried different modes of transport such as carts, cycle-rickshaws, vans, tractors, etc.
  • 3. • If we consider the case of West Bengal, a few years ago, cycle van rickshaws were used mainly for freight transportation. However, with the rapid increase in demand for passenger transport, people started using vans for commuting passengers. As time passed, a motorized version of cycle van rickshaws came on the roads. These are popularly called “Vano”. These mechanized van rickshaws are faster than the cycle van rickshaws and have a better carrying capacity. • However, as these vehicles became popular, especially in the rural area, the issues with these vehicles came into the forefront. Recently the court has issued an order according to which these vehicles will be banned due to obvious pollution and safety reasons.
  • 4. Objective: The objective of the present study aims at: i) finding the energy consumption pattern of these vehicles and its social and economic effects. ii) investigating whether there is a possibility to modify these mechanized van rickshaws so that they can be allowed to ply the streets of rural areas and the city outskirts in West Bengal.
  • 5. Methodology: A structured questionnaire was prepared for data collection. A total of 30 mechanized van rickshaw operators were interviewed from different locations in the outskirts of Kolkata. The data obtained from these interviews were then tabulated and specific energy consumption was estimated. Also the verbal interaction with the people associated with operating these vehicles gave an insight to the problems and the facilities associated with operating these vehicles.
  • 6. The Vehicle:
  • 7. Energy Consumption: Location Engine Type Coupling type Fuel Used Route Distance (km) Total distance covered per day (km) Anandapur, Ruby, 24 Paraganas (S) Water Pump Chain Diesel 3.0 Kakdwip, 24 Paraganas (S) Chinese Chain Diesel 8.5 Mileage (km/l) Carrying capacity Per day income (Rs.) Specific Energy Consumption (l/passenger/km) 36 30 08 480.00 4.167×10-3 34 34 18 720.00 1.634 ×10-3
  • 8. Impacts of the vehicle: There are places where mechanized van rickshaws are the only means for transportation by land. At certain remote places under the Sunderban area of South 24 Paraganas, that are isolated due to the water bodies surrounding them, the motorized van rickshaws are used as ambulances. As per an article published in The Telegraph (Kolkata edition), as on 9th May 2013, there are 12000 mechanized van rickshaws plying the roads of the rural areas and city outskirts [1].
  • 9. Apart from being a handy mode of transportation, mechanized van rickshaws has become an alternate source of income. About 2 lakh rural people depend directly or indirectly on the income from running these vehicles. The major problem associated with these vehicles are, they cause huge pollution, mainly because some of these vehicles having two wheeler engines often use kerosene mixed with petrol as their fuel. Also their exhaust is unfiltered and the engines used have low efficiency and poor combustion capacity. Apart from these, there are safety issues for the commuters.
  • 10. Problems faced by the operators: It has been a few years since the mechanized van rickshaws started plying the streets. Gradually a chain of business and economic cycle has developed based on these vehicles. Apart from the operators of mechanized van rickshaws, who earn their share of money directly by operating the vehicles, there are people who supply the engines, mechanics who repair the mechanized parts, garages where the vehicles are assembled. Indirectly there are a lot of people depending on the income from these vehicles.
  • 11. • Now, as per the order issued by the court, if these vehicles are stopped, a lot of families will have no source of income. It will be extremely difficult for them to sustain themselves. Also it will bring an end to the economic development, however small it may be.
  • 12. Probable modifications: • Use of proper engines keeping in mind the purpose for which the engine is being used. • Balancing the distribution of load on the vehicle, thereby minimizing the risk of the vehicle getting toppled over. • Lowering the height of the sitting platform from the ground and increasing the track can add to the stability of the vehicle.
  • 13. • Using proper wheels to enable the use of proper braking system, thereby ensuring the safety of commuters. • Use of foot rests, leg guards, shock absorbers and roof can add to the safety and comfort of the passengers.
  • 14. Conclusion: • These mechanized van rickshaws have issues, mainly issues regarding pollution and safety of passengers. • With proper modifications and supervision, these issues can be solved and these vehicles can be allowed to ply the streets of the city outskirts.
  • 15. • The specific energy consumption for these vehicles (1.634×10-3 to 4.167×10-3 l/passenger/km) are low or are comparable to other vehicles such as taxis (3.860×10-2 l/passenger/km) and auto-rickshaws (1.347×10-3 l/passenger/km). • These vehicles should not be allowed to ply the city streets as it would then contribute to problems like traffic congestion, slow traffic movement and enhanced pollution.
  • 16. References: • Traffic stopped for illegal vehicles, The Telegraph, Kolkata, May 9, 2013. • Dutta, A., 2012, A study on energy consumption in passenger vehicles in road transportation sector in Kolkata, M. Tech Thesis, SES, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. • Introduction of battery driven pollution free van rickshaw for rural transportation, IIPC News, Jadavpur University Vol.5, No.2, Nov-Dec.2004. http://www.jaduniv.edu.in/upload_files/collabor ation_file/12650 26319-1.pdf
  • 17. Thank You