Motorcycle rickshaws (MRs) are three-wheeled vehicles, which operate across Pakistan and appear to be the country’s largest informal public transport mode. Data collected as part of the first author’s PhD study revealed that MRs (together with the less common auto-rickshaws) were involved in over 36 000 road crashes in Punjab, Pakistan during 2011–2012. Despite growing road safety issues, the government has not formulated any road safety or transport policy for MRs. The current study presents some policy measures/recommendations to improve road safety of MRs. 46 key stakeholders were interviewed in Lahore to identify policy measures and strategies to address MR related transport and road safety issues.
Based on their professional experience, EMS and Police officials reported that most MRDs are unskilled and risky drivers, and make a sizeable contribution to road crashes across Pakistan. Engineering experts identified that MRs lack safety features and are unstable and unsafe vehicles. Interviews with transport department officials showed that currently there is an absence of any workable transport or road safety policy for MRs. Stakeholders suggested that at present MRs should not be banned in Pakistan, but should operate under a well-defined structure and system. Policy measures and strategies related to MR registration, transport and road safety policies, manufacturing standards, overloading, a feeder service and transport system, and MR driver behaviour, licensing and underage driving were presented. These policies require that all MR drivers be licensed and of correct age. While there have been government attempts to ban MRs, their dominant role in the public transport sector and the economy cannot be overlooked. They provide transportation to millions of people across Pakistan, and thousands of people earn their livelihood from this sector. Therefore stakeholders suggested that MRs should continue to operate, but under a well-defined transport and road safety policy.
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