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A Rickshaw originally denoted a two or three-wheeled passenger cart, now known as a pulled rickshaw, which is generally pulled by one man carrying one passenger. The first known use of the term was in 1879. Over time, cycle rickshaws (also known as pedicabs or trishaws), auto rickshaws, and electric rickshaws were invented, and have replaced the original pulled rickshaws, with a few exceptions for their use in tourism.
Pulled rickshaws created a popular form of transportation, and a source of employment for male laborers, within Asian cities in the 19th century. Their appearance was related to newly acquired knowledge of ball-bearing systems. Their popularity declined as cars, trains and other forms of transportation became widely available.
Auto rickshaws are becoming more popular in some cities in the 21st century as an alternative to taxis because of their low cost.