Research on City Rickshaw Barrier to Entry

E-Rickshaw or city-rickshaw or city-safari as they are popularly known are one of the latest entry in the transport system of Nepal. Flexible, environmental friendly and affordable, these e-vehicles have been providing the answer to the connectivity issue mostly in flat terrain areas of Nepal. In these cities, the numbers of registered city-rickshaws is based on a quota system.

The research is based on the city of Biratnagar, where the quota system permits registration of 300 of the battery operated city-rickshaws. The quota allocated may vary from one municipality to other where these e-vehicles ply on. The government’s decision of regulating these city-rickshaws through the quota system has brought about market distortion not only in Biratnagar but in other cities as well. Market imperfection has created a distortion between the demand of city-rickshaws and their supply which has prevented customers from getting good service and caused difficulty for drivers and owners to earn their livelihood.

For an economically deprived country like Nepal, these means of survival has great importance for the common people who struggle on a daily basis to earn their living. This kind of barrier to entry creates obstacles to those, who want to earn a living by honest means. The barriers to entry also affect the choices offered to a large number of passengers for their daily commute. With the absence of other available options, they are forced to use modes of transport that are costly or are overcrowded.

With growing concern about these issues, Bikalpa – an Alternative conducted a research on “City Rickshaw: Barriers to Entry” in Biratnagar, to find out the problem and its impact on a broader level. This research will help us to analyze how the barrier to entry has created an impact on the livelihood of the low earning rickshaw drivers/owners, and what is the cost of barriers to entry to the common masses.

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