Rickshaw ride in Hong Kong

If you have not read my previous article "From Sedan Chair to Jumbo Jet", I recommend you to have a look first before reading any further here.

After having a general idea on the early days of public transportation in Hong Kong, one will easily conclude that all those human powered transportation means were long gone.

But is that the truth?

As a blog aims to explore the forgotten side of public transportation in Hong Kong, today (27-Aug-2011), I am going to show you a very special thing. Let' go to The Peak!


Welcome to The Peak!

The Peak Galleria and The Peak Tower are the two famous landmarks in The Peak area. The Peak Galleria is a large shopping mall with lots of souvenir shops and delicatessens. The Peak Tower on the opposite side is another shopping mall and also the upper terminus of the famous Peak Tram, Hong Kong's first railway and also the first machine powered transportation.

The Peak can also be reached by taking NWFB bus number 15 or minibus number 1 from Central. On Sundays and Public Holidays, there is also bus number 15B to Causeway Bay. An 1 hour hiking from Pokfulam Reservoir is also a famous and healthy alternative.

 

 The road between the two huge buildings is called Findlay Road.


Findlay Road used to open to traffic. But now, it is designated as pedestrian area.

 

Let's walk along Findley Road a little bit to the Lion's Pavilion Lookout.

 

The lookout is only 1 minute walk from The Peak Tower. Here, you can have an awesome view of the Victoria Harbour and ...


Just outside the lookout, you can see something that shouldn't exist anymore. A rickshaw and its puller!Is this a gimmick organized by Hong Kong Tourist Association?






Look at the girl enjoying a rickshaw ride! This is a real rickshaw, not a gimmick.



This old man is the only remaining rickshaw puller in Hong Kong!






This old man is called Mr. Hung. He has become a rickshaw puller for more than 30 years.

Information from Transport Department showed that there were 4 licensed rickshaw pullers in Hong Kong at the end of 2009. Mr. Hung is one of them. According to Mr. Hung, he is the only one still pulling rickshaw.

"The latest figure should be 2 now. The other 2 were retired already. The third one is an old man in his 80s. He did not pull rickshaw anymore but keeping his license to sell rickshaw replicas to tourists."

Source: http://www.td.gov.hk/mini_site/atd/2010/en/s3_p3.htm

I have contacted Transport Department of Hong Kong to confirm this information. But Transport Department refused to provide me the 2011 figure. So there is no way to confirm what Mr. Hung said. But as a local, I did not see any rickshaw for years except Mr. Hung's. Mr. Hung is definitely the final person who really pull rickshaw.
6 December,2011 Note: The Transport Department of Hong Kong has uploaded the "Annual Transport Digest 2011". At the end of 2010. the total number of licensed rickshaw was dropped to only 2. This agrees what Mr. Hung said.
http://www.td.gov.hk/mini_site/atd/2011/en/s3_p3.htm



This is his price list. A little explanation is needed here:
  • HK$20 per person for photo shooting.Mr. Hung will position his rickshaw in two different poses.
  • HK$40 for two persons and so on.
  • And HK$100 for a rickshaw ride along Findlay Road. The ride is about 10 to 15 minutes.
Since Findlay Road is closed to traffic, Mr. Hung's rickshaw is the also the only public transportation mean on Findley Road!

Let's have a close up on his rickshaw:


 

Many people used to think that rickshaw uses a bigger size bicycle wheel. But this picture shows that this is wrong. "Rickshaw wheel is a metal wheel covered with a layer of ox skin. It is not a tyre", said Mr. Hung.


"It is difficult to make new rickshaw wheel for spare now. All original rickshaw makers were retired for years. I visited many factories in China and only managed to find one that can make me a new wheel."

Apart from pulling rickshaw, Mr. Hung also makes new rickshaw for sale.

"It is 100% authentic. It is still the old design. Nothing has changed since the 50s. What you see on the streets of Hong Kong some 60 years ago, you can get exactly the same from me!" I am afraid my flat does not have a garden. Or else, I would be happy to have one at home.

 

Weather is hot and the business is not good this day.



"Many people think that all rickshaw pullers were dead!", explained Mr. Hung. After the little girl gone, he just sit there for an hour, without any business.

"People are poorer now. This is a global economic issue." I talked to Mr. Hung for more than half hour. We talked about Obama and Gaddafi, Japanese tsunami and also the recent riots in England. He is an old man with a wide international sense


"I do not have the money to advertise my business. This is the only remaining rickshaw in Hong Kong. If I retired, there will be no more. $100 is not that much for tourists. And you can't get such experience anywhere else in Hong Kong!"


I agree with him. If you search "Hong Kong Rickshaw" on google, what you get is only the fake rickshaw -- "NWFB Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus", not Mr. Hung's real one.

Old Mr. Hung on youtube!



Two weeks later, on 5-Sep-2011, I went to The Peak to find Mr. Hung again. It is another hot summer day. Mr. Hung was not here. I took more photos of his rickshaw.












I met Mr. Hung later and exchanged our name card. We became friends. His business was not good today either. I promised to do something for him.


On the mid-autumn festival, I received Mr. Hung's call. He was going to repaint his rickshaws parked outside new Central Star Ferry Pier, a.k.a. Pier No. 7, as he got a buyer.





The compartment underneath the seat is originally designed for the rickshaw puller to store his processions.













Apart from the three rickshaws parked on the left, all other rickshaws belong to Mr. Hung.


They are ready for rental or sale.



Interested to own a rickshaw at home?




That's it! Rickshaw is still alive in Hong Kong. Are you surprised?


4 comments:

  1. Bicycle rickshaws are the best choice. Value-added, the multiple advantages of this technology. This is completely natural and environmentally friendly, because it is simply driven by the human rickshaw.

    Rickshaw

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have contacted Transport Department of Hong Kong to confirm this knowledge. But Transport Department refused to provide me the 2011 figure.

    delivery

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice description. all images are good of Rickshaw ride..
    http://www.suainlogistics.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a vintage Rickshaw, with original wooden wheels for sale. Email is:

    piloti951@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete