E-Tuk Tuks Make Their San Francisco Debut

By Matt Bigler, KCBS Radio

May 8, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) — First came electric cars, then e-scooters and now, the electric tuk tuks are cruising through the streets of San Francisco. 

The colorful auto rickshaws made their debut in the city this week, offering what's essentially a party on three wheels for tourists.

There are disco balls on the ceilings, brightly colored seats, a karaoke machine, and drivers who dispense trivia. 

Tuk tuks, which are common in Southeast Asia, get their name from the signature sound made by their loud gas engines. Here in San Francisco, the engines are quiet and environmentally friendly, although the vehicles themselves are noisy, thanks to the dance music blaring from the speakers. 

The city's hilly streets make it possible for the tuk tuks to recharge on descents, according to Brian Huber, the chief executive of Lucky Tuk Tuk. 

"We have the advantage of a great ride up the hills and also that extra little boost as we go down the hills," said Huber. 

His company offers 2.5 hour tours through tourist areas like Russian Hill and Lombard Street as well as evening pub crawls. 

Prices range from $65 to $118 depending on the tour and season.