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Thread: Court Strikes Down Pedicab Licensing Plan

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    Default Court Strikes Down Pedicab Licensing Plan



    January 17, 2008, 5:46 pm

    Court Strikes Down Pedicab Licensing Plan


    By Sewell Chan

    In a case that has exposed the division between owners and drivers in the pedicab industry, a state judge in Manhattan has struck down the system the city planned to use to distribute 325 licenses to operate the human-powered vehicles. The city said that it planned to appeal the decision. The legal dispute is another wrinkle in the city’s long-standing effort to regulate the pedicab industry for the first time.

    A little context might help. On April 23, 2007, the City Council, overriding a veto by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, adopted a law that subjected pedicabs to regulation by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, required the pedicabs to display a registration plate, limited the number of plates at any one time to 325 and provided that no more than 30 plates could be issued to any pedicab business at any one time.

    In July, the department proposed rules that would have allowed anyone who drove a pedicab at the time the law was adopted to apply for a cab license — not just the cab owners — and would have allowed all applicants to request up to 30 licenses, no matter how many cabs they owned at the time the Council passed the law. A group of pedicab owners filed a lawsuit, asserting that the Council intended for owners to have preference (not drivers) and for the new licenses to be issued in accordance with existing ownership. In September, a State Supreme Court justice, John E. H. Stackhouse, delayed the implementation of the rules.

    In a ruling [pdf] issued on Wednesday, another State Supreme Court justice, Edward H. Lehner, ruled that the ruled adopted by the Department of Consumer Affairs were not consistent with the law adopted by the City Council, finding that the Council intended that only owners — not drivers — be given preference for the new pedicab licenses.

    As in many lawsuits, both sides — the owners and the city — claimed that their position was the more fair one.

    In a statement, Gabriel Taussig, chief of the Administrative Law Division in the city’s Law Department, said that treating drivers and owners equally was the more just system.

    “The Department of Consumer Affairs will appeal the decision that struck down its rule that treated all pedicab industry participants in an even-handed manner,” he said. “We believe that the decision is legally wrong in finding that the City Council intended preferential consideration be given only to owners, but not drivers who had already established themselves. Coupled with the Council-imposed cap on pedicab permits, the decision — if allowed to stand — will result in an unwarranted hardship on the pedicab industry.”

    The pedicab owners, unsurprisingly, begged to differ. Chad Marlow, a lawyer for the New York City Pedicab Owners’ Association, said in a statement, “Last spring, the City Council passed a law that put the New York City pedicab industry on life support. Last fall, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ regulations tried to pull the plug. But yesterday, the New York State Supreme Court threw the pedicab industry a lifeline and we are very grateful.”

    Peter Meitzler, the president of the association and the owner of the Manhattan Rickshaw Company, said in a statement:

    This decision does nothing less than save our industry. It prevents all those who have invested in building our green industry over the years from facing economic ruin and preserves the ability of larger pedicab fleets to provide good jobs to hundreds of pedicabs drivers throughout the city. Just as importantly, the decision sustains an environmentally friendly, alternative transportation industry that embodies all the principles of the city’s bold PlaNYC 2030. New York City needs its pedicab industry.

    Whatever the ultimate outcome, it is clear that the pedicab industry has drawn very mixed reactions. Supporters see pedicabs as an innovative and entrepreneurial new business; opponents — including many taxicab and bus drivers — see the pedicabs as a nuisance and even a hazard. The Bloomberg administration in 2006 decided to regulate the pedicabs in large part because of concerns that current pedicab owners did not have liability insurance.

    In 2005, I reported that the number of pedicabs had nearly doubled over the past two years, according to unofficial estimates, spurred by an influx of entrepreneurs and popularized by Donald J. Trump’s reality television show, “The Apprentice.”

    Saludos

    Gerald
    Admin www.PedicabForum.com

    Our company site:
    www.trixi.com

    Other web sites:
    www.Bicicleta.es





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    Happy 2008 to everyone on three (or four) wheels out there!

    We're in the Times today, as Gerald notes, and pls. see the blog, which is getting very interesting:

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...icensing-plan/

    -peter m.

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    Hi Peter and all NYC pedicabbers,

    first of all: I wish you also a great 2008. Good boys will win always

    Congratulations. The case of NYC has shown that the only way in the industry is to work together.

    To all: Visit the blog Peter M. mentioned....


    Here some frases:

    "This decision does nothing less than save our industry. It prevents all those who have invested in building our green industry over the years from facing economic ruin and preserves the ability of larger pedicab fleets to provide good jobs to hundreds of pedicabs drivers throughout the city. Just as importantly, the decision sustains an environmentally friendly, alternative transportation industry that embodies all the principles of the city’s bold PlaNYC 2030. New York City needs its pedicab industry."

    Peter Meitzler, the president of the association and the owner of the Manhattan Rickshaw Company



    "...Unfortunately, the NYCPOA was forced to shell out tens of thousands of dollars the keep DCA in line - money that the association will never see back, thanks to the tradition in the United States of losers not having to pay back wronged parties when they win in court (as they do is, e.g., the United Kingdom)...."

    Gregg Zukowski




    "...Cars are the real hazards and nuisances. In an age and city dealing with global warming, fossil fuel shortages, and rampant obesity, it’s shocking that pedicabs and bike riding in general are not given supportive, even preferential, treatment...."

    Sue


    "...The New York City Pedicab Owner’s Assoc. (nycpoa.org) was founded to create order in an industry when government would not. A non-profit trade association, we organized to promote best practices, liability insurance and recently personal insurance for our drivers, training, and maintenance standards, to safeguard the public and maintain goodwill among all industry stakeholders and government agencies. We are accepting new members as we bravely ride into 2008, a court victory in hand, and we look forward to re-establishing the dialogue with the Department of Consumer Affairs, our future regulatory home...."



    Peter Meitzler, the president of the association and the owner of the Manhattan Rickshaw Company



    Visit also: http://nycpoa.org NYC Pedicab Association


    Good work NYC

    Abrazos from Barcelona.
    Last edited by Trixi.com; 19-01-2008 at 01:31.
    Saludos

    Gerald
    Admin www.PedicabForum.com

    Our company site:
    www.trixi.com

    Other web sites:
    www.Bicicleta.es





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