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Thursday, 01 April 2010 10:32

Human powered tourist rickshaws

Rickshaw transport Rickshaw transport

Human powered tourist rickshaws
by our environment correspondent Richard Shore

Kalkan is amongst a handful of popular tourist locations in Turkey that have been selected to take part in a scheme that will see rickshaws supplement the traditional yellow taxis.

The scheme aims to promote the use of human powered transportation as an alternative, environmentally friendly option.  Grants have been obtained from UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), to pay for some of the capital investment required.

Local taxi driver, Süleyman Tufanlar, pictured below, is one of several taxi drivers who have decided to opt for this 'green' approach.  He told Kalkan Turkish Local News, "My friends thought I was mad to do this, but I see this as the future of tourist transportation".


He continued, "The price of petrol is crazy, and people want a cheaper, and cleaner way of getting around Kalkan.  I believe that more people will choose to use the rickshaw, rather than a taxi.  I think I will have many customers".

But surely there is an obvious problem - the steep hills in Kalkan.  "It is no problem", Süleyman told us. "They may look like ordinary rickshaws, but they use state of the art technology.  As you travel on level ground or downhill, energy is generated and stored in batteries, and when you go uphill, sensors activate an electric motor, which does all the hard work".

These hi-tech machines are built in Kayseri, in central Turkey, and represent one of Turkey's recent technological success stories, with exports growing at a significant rate.

If you are coming to Kalkan this year, you will be able to see for yourself.  However, we understand that there will only be 10 of these high-tech rickshaws in service, which can carry two passengers.  So we reckon they are going to be in demand.

Having said that, we did see one the other day carrying two adults, a child, a goat and a bag of olives on the back, so clearly, they are sturdy machines.  Admittedly, Süleyman was wheezing a bit, on the hill going up to the bus station, but he was trying to overtake a tractor at the time, which was probably an ambitious manouever.

When his fitness levels improve, Süleyman says he may start to do the occasional airport transfer to Dalaman.  Kolay gelsin!





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