A Tuk tuk in Egypt- Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/ Ad Meskens
CIARO – 6 September 2019: Being unsafe and unlicensed, tuk-tuks (also known as auto rickshaw) were banned as a means of transportation as per a government decree, and will be replaced with natural gas-powered minivans nationwide.
The Egyptian government, chaired by Moustafa Madbouli, ordered tuk-tuk assembling factors to not produce auto rickshaws anymore, according to a statement from the cabinet on Wednsday.
The government will buy the tuk-tuks from their owners and give them minivans in return, while the owners will pay the price difference of two vehicles in soft loans, Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad told Akher al-Nahar talk show on al-Nahar channel on Thursday evening.
The old and withdrawn tuk-tuks will turn into junk, he said, adding that the cabinet will hold a meeting with representatives of tuk-tuk assembling factors to change manufacturing lines for minivans production.
In March 2018, the state-owned Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CPAMS) said that the number of licensed tuk tuks in Egypt in the period between 2014 and 2016 reached 99,000 tuk-tuks, noting that the number is increasing. Meanwhile, the number of unlicensed tuk-tuks reached more than 3 million rickshaws.
In February 2018, Secretary of the Parliament’s transportation committee, Khaled Abdel Azeem, criticized the government for not taking actual steps to stop tuk-tuks from plaguing Egyptian communities and turning them into slums.
In spite of tuk-tuks being viewed as useful transportation means in the narrow streets of slum areas, they also impose a threat in Egyptian street as many deadly accidents have been caused because of them during the past few years.
In 2014, the Egyptian government decided to ban tuk-tuks for a year, as it had been used in crimes and terrorist attacks. However, they did not succeed at keeping track of the entire bulk of tuk-tuks that have been finding their way in Egypt since the early 2000s.
In September 2018, while a police force was patrolling a town in Assiut, it suspected three people on a tuk-tuk vehicle, the ministry said in a statement. The three men opened fire at the force when it stopped them, according to the ministry. The force returned fire, killing one and wounding another. The third fled. In the same month, a girl was killed and two others were severely injured after a tuk-tuk collided with a passenger train in Dishna, Qena, while trying to pass a railway crossing.
A tuk-tuk is a common form of urban transportation. It is a development of the still available two-wheeled pulled rickshaw by which a runner draws a cart with a seat for one or two people. It is believed the pulled rickshaw was invented by Japan in the 19th century. Rickshaws then appeared in India, China and other big cities in Asia.
Additional reporting by Jehad El-Sayed