Nainital- it's serene beauty has lured tourists for many long summers. But now, residents and seasonal tourists have discovered yet another beautiful and "eco-friendly" aspect of this hill station- the cycle-rickshaws!
Being a hilly terrain, initially, no one ventured to own or operate a cycle-rickshaw here until a couple of enterprising minds gave it a thought to ply these eco-friendly vehicles.
Popularity of cycle-rickshaws could be gauged from the fact that locals and tourists patronising the pre-paid rickshaw stands, set up at vantage points in the city.
"There were no rickshaws at first but now this is really helping people. Cycle-rickshaw service has been a boon. People are enjoying and liking it," said Harish, an employee at a prepaid counter for cycle-rickshaws.
The cycle-rickshaw service has made commuting easy for the local residents as well as a large number of tourists visiting Nainital at various time of the year.
It is convenient and not at all expensive.
"Initially, it was difficult to commute. We had to hire a taxi that was not affordable. The local administration authorities have done a good job by launching cycle-rickshaws although the routes are limited for the time-being," said Samir, a resident of Nainital.
The rickshaws move on the route between Tallital and Mallital. All one has to pay is just rupees eight for a ride between the two places.
"We have learnt that even a complete rickshaw can be booked. We have to book the entire rickshaw and the prices are fixed. For a single journey from here to Mallital, the rickshaw rides are booked for just eight rupees," said Mukesh Verma, a tourist.
As for the pre-paid counters, these are the spots where one can book the cycle rickshaw for the required journey and period.
These pre-paid services are very convenient where the intending riders are given a slip with the rickshaw number mentioned on it.
Among the other beneficiaries are the persons manning pre-paid counters and cycle mechanics who maintain these vehicles.
Indeed, the business of cycle-rickshaws has been a worthy source of regular income to hundreds of cycle-rickshaw pullers, as they ferry the locals and visiting tourists to different spots in the designated routes. y Vipul Goel