Assessing Socio-Economic Conditions, Factors Influencing Choice of Profession & Entrepreneurial Traits of E–Rickshaw Drivers

  • Gargi Lahiri Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Sister Nivedita University, Kolkata
  • Soumen Nath Assistant Professor, Department of Management, George College, Kolkata (Affiliated to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, West Bengal)
Keywords: Para transit, E-Rickshaws (totos), Environmental Pollution, Entrepreneurship


E-Rickshaws are battery operated 3 wheelers popularly called totos in West Bengal and are being
increasingly recognized as para transits. Over the years the toto services have proliferated in various Indian
states including West Bengal. They are mainly suited for small towns, tier II, tier III cities and offer people an
alternative as well as supplement for bus services and other means of transport for short distances. People
prefer this mode of transport for their easy availability, availability within small time gaps (or short waiting
times), flexibility of the routes and affordable fare. Their growth has also been supported by the Government
since they lessen the environmental pollution by not emitting harmful gases. State Governments all over
India as well as other countries are encouraging the E-Rickshaws as an Alternative Energy Vehicle. The ERickshaws
have been able to generate employment opportunities for a number of people in recent times. It
has been observed in recent years that the pedaling cycle rickshaws are disappearing from the towns and
small cities and are replaced by E-Rickshaws. A number of cycle rickshaw pullers have been converted into
E-Rickshaw drivers and also there are a lot of new entrants to this unregulated area of transportation. This
paper will attempt to study the socio-economic backgrounds of the toto drivers and factors that fuelled their
entry into the profession. The paper will also take into account the presence of entrepreneurial traits of the
toto drivers. These traits will determine their chances of turning to entrepreneurs in the field. The study is set
on a small town Uttarpara, in Hooghly district, about 10 km from Howrah.