The Jinricksha Station (Chinese: 金吉力沙人力车站, Pinyin: Jīnjílìshā rénlì chēzhàn), also known as Jinrikisha Station, is a historic building in Singapore, and is located in Tanjong Pagar in the Chinatown district within the Central Area, Singapore's central business district.
The Jinricksha Station was built from 1903 to 1904. Its location was ideal for catering to customers from the nearby Tanjong Pagar Docks and the adjacent thoroughfare that led from the docks to the town. By 1919, there were 9,000 rickshaws manned by 20,000 rickshaw pullers working in shifts.
The life of a rickshaw puller was harsh. Most could not afford to own a rickshaw and had to rent one. Rickshaw pullers lived in cramped cubicles in shophouses in Chinatown and earnings were meagre. To ease their heartaches as well as their overworked bodies, many turned to opium. Until 1904, all the rickshaws were two-seaters, which were heavy and often used to transport whole families and commercial goods; the weight was almost unbearable for the rickshaw pullers.
In 1911, the government tried to ban the two-seater rickshaw, but opposition delayed the passing of this law for another three years. However, when it was finally implemented, it proved ineffective. Fortunately, the single-seater soon emerged as the more popular rickshaw and the two-seater faded into disuse.
Rickshaws were gradually replaced by other means of transport: the trishaw, the electric tram, the bus and the car. After World War II (1942-1945), they were phased out by government legislation and the once familiar sight of rickshaws and rickshaw pullers disappeared forever from the streets of Singapore.
However, originally, the building had exposed brickwork, now painted, and this must have been somewhat unique at the time. The Ionic pilasters and curved pediment on the corner and the square tower with its octagonal cupola are pleasing and important elements of Tanjong Pagar Road and surroundings.