CU Student’s Vision for London Rickshaw Aims to Ease City Congestion

It’s very well known just how congested London is. Last year, 1.265 billion commuters used the iconic London Underground alone. With literally millions of people travelling to work each day by some form of transport or another, and at a generally high expense, future ideas and solutions are always needed. And a Coventry University student may have twenty-first century vision for the capital.

Automotive Design student Sherazam Tiwana, 22, has developed a concept, originally for his finally year project, for an electric-powered three-seater rickshaw that would form part of the Transport for London (TFL) network, accepting Oyster card and operating throughout the city’s six zones. Inspired by the popularity of the rickshaw in his home country of Pakistan, his rickshaws could prove equally popular here, as they offer commuters a bespoke drop-off location, thus proving a competitor for the famous Coventry-built black cabs. However, due to the small size, low running cost and all-around flexibility, the London rickshaw, could be supported by the TFL which would subsequently keep prices more affordable for the commuter. And of course, using a taxi to get to and from work everyday would a wallet-bursting procedure.

As of right now, there are approximately 650 rickshaws, known widely as ‘pedicabs’ operating in London. However, the pedicab industry isn’t regulated. A TFL moderated personal transport system like this could revolutionise the the way we travel.

Sherazam, who graduates in November said;

I love the idea of a high-quality rickshaw service being successfully adapted to work in a major city like London, and I really believe that with funding and support from the right organisations it is a concept that would take off in a big way. 

Rickshaws are hugely popular in developing nations, including in my home city of Lahore, but it’s tempting to think of them simply as tourist attractions in London. That wouldn’t be the case if a polished product built to the appropriate automotive standards was introduced. People are increasingly conscious of carbon emissions and would appreciate the flexibility that rickshaws offer. My concept would be safer than bicycles and smaller and more agile than taxis, so they would be the perfect compromise to ease congestion on the streets of London.

Sherazam’s rickshaw concept is currently being exhibited in Milton Keynes at the headquarters of the government-backed Transport Systems Catapult, which is run by Innovate UK and exists to promote research and development around intelligent mobility.



Ryan Walker