School Bus Tricycle in India


Image found on Treehugger

I find this Indian rickshaw converted to a school bus to be particularly bizarre. There’s nothing at all strange or bad about carrying kids to and from school in a trike. In fact WorkCycles sells trikes specifically made for this purpose and they’re becoming quite popular in various cities around the Netherlands. The kids love it. See the examples below:

de redding kdv bakfiets met kinderen in de bak zes kinderen in de bak van een deredding kdv bakfiets Kinderen klimmen uit de bak van een deredding KDV bakfiets

No, what’s bizarre about the Indian bicycle school bus is how is almost seems to have been designed to be unpleasant for the kids yet not out of economic necessity. A couple of the kids inside are smiling but I suspect its just for the camera. The others don’t seem too happy about the situation and who can blame them? I count at least nine kids in the box. There’s no way to make a bike to carry nine kids in spacious comfort but I’m sure it could be better than this.

I just don’t get it. It looks as if the child carrier box has been built especially to fit this rickshaw chassis, as opposed to having been adapted, second-hand from some other vehicle. But maybe that’s not the case – perhaps the box was originally intended to carry livestock such as sheep, a task it seems better suited for.

Otherwise why make such a cramped and enclosed kid carrier in a place that gets so hot? The roof could easily be higher and still carry the backpacks and protect the kids from sun/rain. Why are the windows so tiny… and further covered by a metal cross bar? Would the kids otherwise jump out and run away? I would. Likewise, with no significant additional cost the box could be extended to the side over each wheel to create more space inside.

Call me arrogant but I don’t believe this situation has anything to do with economics. It just seems like lousy design. Can anybody shed more light on these bikes and/or schools and/or children in New Delhi? Are there reasons beyond my narrow-minded, egocentric comprehension that have dictated this design? Is “public school” actually just a euphemism for “jail for juvenile delinquents” in New Delhi? Please help because my head is spinning.

3 Responses to “School Bus Tricycle in India”

  1. jack west Says:

    Hello Henry

    It reminds me of the Anchovies Packed into a Jar that you buy in the Supermarket.
    What if someone lets off a Fart, wouldnt it be Horrible being stuck in there and not be able to get out. What happens if one of them has a desperate urge to go to the Toilet. The Child Cruelty Laws seem to be very Lax. If a Load of Animals was treated this Badly in our Countries in Europe or the US they would be Prosecuted for Illtreatment.

  2. anundu terngu damian Says:

    I think this is another way of illtreatment to a child that is yet to decide on his own, is nothing good but subjecting he/her to a stand still level of reasoning. when i saw the graphics of these children on the net, it remends me of sudanise child that has been picked from the dust and fears of war, thrown into the available means of transport inorder to save his last breath. the question is, why cannt indians control their birth rate to save their situation, its very simple.

  3. Grace Johnson Says:

    The Indian bicycle school bus as pictured above is in use throughout Northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The design is based upon the Indian ‘closed box cargo’ rickshaw since the width, length and roof height are the same and – you’re right – the bike bus is specially built to transport school kids. As for it being designed to be unpleasant– well most local transport on the Indian subcontinent is uncomfortable and the kids are probably sitting in more luxury than their parents who take the local busses. The narrow windows are to keep the kids from jumping out and in Bangladesh they even keep the back door closed with a padlock.

    Unfortunately the bike bus isn’t the only way that children are brought to school. In some places they will transport up to ten kids on an Indian rickshaw. Rickshaws aren’t designed to sit in safely and feel like ‘launching platforms’ whenever you hit a pothole since the passenger seat slopes downward in the front. In Bangladesh alone around 12,000 people per year die in traffic accidents and I wonder how many of them were school kids who were “launched” into oncoming traffic…

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