Jinrikisha Station

A magnificent building located at the junction of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road, the Jinrikisha Station once served as a central depot for one of the earliest public transports in Singapore – rickshaws.

The name Jinrikisha is a Japanese word , which means human-powered vehicle.

The Jinrikisha Station was built in 1903 by then Municipal Engineer Samuel Tomlinson and Municipal Architect DM Craik. The design was unique with the brick walls exposed and a octagonal cupola on top of the square tower.

Ever since they were first imported from Shanghai in 1880, rickshaws gained popularity rapidly because of their mobility and affordable prices. The rickshaw business flourished and the Jinrikisha Station was set up in order to allow travellers to get to the dock or other parts of the city easily using the rickshaws.

The rickshaw business was able to provide tens of thousands of jobs but the rickshaw pullers, renting the rickshaws from the business owners, had a hard life, earning meagre income and often had to subject to long working hours, physical fatigue and unpredictable weathers.

After World War II, rickshaws in many parts of the world were outlawed because they were seen as an oppression to the poor, and also due to them adding congestion to the roads. Likewise in Singapore, the British government issued a ban in 1947 and phased out the rickshaw business, replacing with other transports such as the trishaw, trams and buses.

The Jinrikisha Station was restored by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 1987. Today, there are restaurants, pubs, music lounges, KTVs and offices in the building.

In 2007, Hong Kong movie superstar Jackie Chan paid SGD11 million for the ownership of the historical building.

Published: 02 April 2011

5 Responses to Jinrikisha Station

  1. Chan HY says:

    Before its current life, the Jinrikisha Station was a Maternal and Child Health where children ware given their triple antigen injections. Oh, and when the Stop at 2 Campaign was at its peak, women were given birth control gadgets. Before that, when polio was rampant, children lined up at the station for their oral sabin. I think we must not forget the life of the station.

  2. StoneFrog456 says:

    Did Jackie Chan sold the building?

  3. Hokkien Sian says:

    My mother used to call it the “Peh Soon Choo” in Hokkien which means the “white lined building”.
    I believe that it was in the 1950s a large government out-patient clinic

  4. The rickshaws also lined up at the nearby Sago Lane for businesses, sharing the street with the “death houses” and funeral parlours. Sago Lane was known as the “street of the dead” before 1960s


    The photo above shows Sago Lane in the 1920s

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