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Thread: Pedicab business is on an up cycle

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    Talking Pedicab business is on an up cycle


    Pedicab business is on an up cycle
    Denver Business Journal June 29, 2007

    While debate rages over taxicab regulation in Denver and with the Democratic National Convention coming next year, there's a small segment of the transportation industry trying to fill the gap.


    Pedicabs -- the city and county of Denver calls them "pedal cabs" -- are servicing short-distant trips that taxi drivers don't find lucrative.

    Some taxicab drivers won't service short-distant trips because the fares, which often net $10 or less, don't cover the bills. In some cases, taxi drivers pay up to $600 a week to rent cabs from Yellow Cab, Freedom Cab and Metro Taxi. Long-trip destinations to Denver International Airport generate more revenue.

    Pedicab drivers pay around $125 per week for their three-wheeled vehicles, and don't have fuel expenses.

    "There's nothing that can fill the gap we fill, which is the short trips," said Gregg Duran, owner of Denver's Big Tree Pedicab [operating Mile High Pedicabs].

    The 21-speed pedicabs take customers from the 16th Street Mall to Five Points, Cherry Creek and the Highlands. The typical pedicab fare is $2 a block, but some drivers let customers decide the fare.

    "It was a really neat experience," Edna Daniel said. She and her husband took a ride from 16th and Lawrence streets to the Millennium Bridge by Union Station on June 23. "You can see everything. It's like a front-row seat."

    In many cases, if a customer needs to go 20 miles outside the city, a pedicab driver will drop them at taxi stands and hotels, giving business to taxicab drivers.

    "Not only providing transportation, we're also providing employment in the economy," Duran said.

    In the Denver metro area, there are 120 pedicab drivers and eight pedicab companies licensed with the city and county of Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses. A business license costs $100, and a pedicab driver's license is $50.

    Depending on the company, drivers rent pedicabs for about $25 a day on weekdays and $45 a day on weekends. Monthly rentals cost up to $400. Drivers who rent monthly said they often will make the money back in one day.

    Independent drivers, such as Bonnie Weimer of Prairie Dog Tricycles, make money comparable to those who drive for companies.

    "I make about $25 an hour," Weimer said. "You probably make more than you would at another job."

    She bought her pedicab for $1,200.
    Main Street Pedicabs Inc., 1811 Upham St., Suite 9, Broomfield, sells pedicabs for around $1,500 to buyers nationwide.

    On average, pedicab drivers make up to $28 an hour or more -- depending on the day, hours worked and their personalities, a key fact in the size of their tips.

    Bobby Lentell, 27, has been renting from Big Tree Pedicabs for a year and a half. On a recent Saturday, he made $339 during a 12-hour shift.

    "I kind of got clever," he said.

    He carefully carved a stop sign out of Styrofoam that said, "Wait here for a pedicab." He placed it on the corner of Larimer and 15th streets next to an arts festival -- La Piazza dell'Arte Italian -- in Larimer Square, and it drew many customers.

    Another part of the business is sustainability. City officials see pedicabs as one way to make sure there's energy-efficient transportation for visitors to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
    "The whole look at transportation involves modes we can use to help reduce the carbon footprint," said Katherine Archuleta, senior adviser on policy and initiatives for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

    "People rarely bring up the sustainability," said Max Henkle, 27, who recently left his job at Energy Environment Corp. to become a full-time pedicab driver. He estimates he can earn $35,000 his first year. "[Pedicabs] really do dispense zero vehicle emissions and zero vehicle carbons."

    State lawmakers and an independent study group are trying to sort out the taxicab issue before the convention in August 2008. They've discussed implementing a flat fee for short-trip fares that would give taxi drivers incentive to service customers that need to be transported only a few blocks.

    The photo of Curtis Sekulich (driver for Mile High Pedicabs / Big Tree Pedicab Mgt.) above was taken by Kathleen Lavine of the Business Journal. The article was written by NOELLE LEAVITT (303-837-3523 nleavitt@bizjournals.com).

    Note: A new Main Street Pedicab would cost a bit more than $1,500.

    FYI... the first official advertiser for Mile High Pedicabs was the Wynkoop Brewery, owned by now Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
    My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dogs already think I am.
    BigTreePedicab.com
    PedicabBlog.com
    ColoradoRickshaw.com
    SmartAdsMedia.com

  2. #2
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    very nice article! When good people promote this biz, good stuff follows

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