Saturday morning, and the team was treated to an exclusive and exhilarating free ride in the Deva Tuk Tuk. Recently given approval from the council licensing committee, the business owners hope that their vehicle, imported from Mumbai will soon be a familiar sight in the city.
A ride in the Tuk Tuk is a joyous experience, with the horn beeping and passers by looking on curiously, smiling and laughing. The Tuk Tuk has a massive novelty factor and our short demonstration to ride to Handbridge was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had during my time stewarding the @ShitChester account.
Co owners Sue Lightfoot and Mel Ashley, Julie hall and Claire Lyons told us that the Tuk Tuk dream began about ten years ago following a visit to Thailand. In Nov 2014 the friends purchased one. “Initially it was for a bit of fun with the girls.. there’s 6 of us, we’re all 50 somethings and just wanted to have a bit of a laugh. When we got it home, people were really interested”
Following the council vote, Sue explained that currently they are insured to do weddings. Pending further licensing approval they will be able to carry out special tours and are hoping to provide bespoke trips, for birthdays, or other special events. Expert driver Mel told me that the vehicle travels at 30 miles per hour. She says that it is “quite difficult to drive until you’ve been driving it for a while… I am currently a driving instructor and have just taken an advanced driving test and I have driven everything in my life from motorbikes to fork lift trucks and buses”
There has been a lot of opposition from the local taxi firms which has puzzled the owners. “It’s silly really. We’re not trying to take their business away we are something very separate. We are more akin to the double decker tourist bus that is going around” .. Deva Tuk Tuk is not available for hire like a taxi. “The conditions of our license say that people have to book 24 hours in advance.. We have to a risk assessment and a safety brief, you cant just call and we’ll come and pick you up”
In 2016 the team are sponsoring Chester Pride and will have a stand at the event in October. “If we get some bookings then we can take people to Pride!” they say enthusiastically. They are also considering getting a second vehicle depending on the demand. Their website will be updated when the private hire license is secure
“It’s about having fun and being happy! Its something different for your senses!” Well done Deva Tuk Tuk for bringing something new to the city!