"Rickshaws" or I will call them "panthers" are three wheeler vehicles that can carry two passengers. You can see these creatures every where in the city either on road or inside streets; driving as if police is chasing them. These panthers are # 1 source of noise pollution, engines emitting terrible noise as if panther is about to take off. Therefore local authorities are gradually phasing out these rickshaws with CNG run "green" rickshaws. A ride is not that comfortable either, a rickshaw cruising at a supersonic speed on a bumpy road will provide "bone crushing" experience.
Despite these drawbacks, rickshaw is a popular public transport and is important in a situation when time is short, just keep on telling the driver "yaar holi chulaa¡" (hey bud drive slow) and ride will be peaceful. Rickshaws are not metered and therefore expect to bargain as the drivers will always ask you excessive amount. On a longer route in lahore do not expect to pay more than $3 a ride.
There are two types of rickshaws on the streets of Lahore nowadays. The green ones are equipped with CNG (certified natural gas) and can go anywhere in the city. The blue ones are powered by petrol and are not allowed in certain areas such as Defence, many parts of Cantonment, and the Mall Road among others. There were plans to ban the blue rickshaws from one of Lahore's busiest roads, Ferozepur Road, as well. If you try to take a blue rickshaw to a restricted area, you will be stopped by police and forced to walk or find a green rickshaw. This takes extra money and time. Sometimes the blue rickshaw drivers pay bribes to get in and out of restricted areas. They will expect you to pay them back.
If you plan to travel by rickshaw extensively, find a reliable driver with a mobile phone who you can contact. Many speak English and most speak Urdu quite well. If you can't communicate with a driver, find another one. There are plenty around.
In summer you may find that the doors have been taken off of some rickshaws. If you desire privacy or do not want to be stared at, wait for a rickshaw that still has its doors on. In winter most rickshaws keep their doors on since it's colder.
I took one of these rickshaws in the area of Kot Lakhpat, in west Lahore, where I was staying, to the apartment of Bobby, otherwise known as Bobby Digital on VT. Bobby bargained for the price, then got me in the back seat, and I was laughing all the way to his place, where his very lovely wife Shumaila was waiting for us. I found this rickshaw outside the home of some people I visited outside of Lahore, and they asked me to bless their home, and pray for them.
Auto-Rickshaws are basically three wheel vehicles, kind of like big motorcycles, and they paint the covers in many different designs, like they do the painted trucks of Pakistan. I was told by a friend that the Pakistanis dress their trucks (and rickshaws) beautifully like a bride.... the passengers sit at the back and are protected from prying eyes by curtains that also *attempt* to keep out the Lahore dust and pollution...
I missed these after I went back to Canada.
The bicycle is also a popular way of travel in Lahore... as is the motorbike, and sometimes you can see whole families on them... or people carrying all their wares for business on their bikes...
While the smell of riding in what is basically a riding lawn mower may be obnoxious, getting around Lahore in a Rickshaw will prove to be an experience some will love and some will hate. Priced low enough to go all over the place for a few bucks you just need to make sure you ask a local how much it should cost to go from point A to point B. For instance....ask the guy at the museum how much you should be charged to go to the fort. They are usually very helpful. This way, when you ask the rickshaw driver to take you there and you get ready to find out how much it's going to cost, you'll know if he's trying to stiff you! Also, MAKE SURE you ask how much BEFORE you go!!!