February 27, 2006

Pedicabs Move Closer to Regulation

On the heels of City Council discussions, the Bloomberg administration will wants to regulate the pedicab industry. The NY Times says that those bikes-plus-a-little-more will be legally recognized, and pedicab owners will need to adhere to these rules:

...to pay a $125 licensing fee each year, and $70 for each additional cab, and to carry an insurance policy covering up to $1 million in liability. Each pedicab would be limited to two adult passengers with one child 3 or younger. Each vehicle would have to have water-resistant hydraulic or mechanical brakes, emergency brakes, battery-powered headlights and taillights, turn lights, reflectors, side-mounted rear view mirrors and passenger seat belts. The pedicabs would be prohibited in parks, on bridges and in tunnels. Owners and drivers who violate the rules could have their licenses suspended or revoked, face fines of $200 to $4,000, and have their vehicles seized.
And those wacky PartyBikes? Outlawed! Of course, traditional forms of city transportation - the cab as well as hansom cabs - are up in arms, saying that pedicabs are stealing their fares. The pedicab industry, which just formed NYC Pedicab Owners' Association, is in favor of regulation, but is concerned with things like drivers meeting "fitness requirements" and needing valid driver's licenses. Interesting - you'd think you'd want drivers able to handle their bikes and some way to track the drivers. An interesting thing is the article brings up is the issue of fares: They will remain under "informal bargaining," as drivers "tend to charge different fares based on the length of the trip, the weather conditions, the number of passengers — and, yes, their weight." Which makes us wonder - if you've taken a pedicab, what have you been charged (and for what distance)?