Bangladesh’s iconic rickshaws can now be hired for travel through the twists & turns of the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
Currently, rickshaws operate in the city centre of Helsinki under the Indian Rickshaw Oy initiative begun by Pekka Anttosen, said a report by Helsinginuutiset.fi.
The wheels of the rickshaws are made in Bangladesh and even the drivers are from Asia.
Regarding why he started the rickshaw service, Anttosen said: “My wife is originally from Pakistan, and I have long wanted to help refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants in Finland find employment.”
In addition to providing employment, he is also trying to change the mindset of those who pull the three-wheelers.
“In India and Bangladesh, rickshaw pullers are dubbed as the lowest class of society. But I want to remind these rickshaw pullers that Finland is different- we here value whoever is engaged in work, as long as they are hardworking and paying their taxes,” Anttosen said.
The decorated rickshaws have small speakers in the hood and each journey costs 15-20 Euros, depending on the length.
All drivers have work permits and are paid according to the number of rides. The rickshaw pullers do not necessarily know Finnish. “But one of the purposes of this work is the fact that their language skills will increase during their duty,” Anttosen added.
Anttosen further said that he wished to add more rickshaws and two other city routes later in the summer.
Three wheeled pedicabs, popularly called rickshaws in Bangladesh, have been around since the 1940s. It is the most popular mode of transport in Dhaka.