News story

Rip-off pedicabs to be driven off the road under new proposals

Rip-off pedicab drivers who charge extortionate fares to take passengers on short journeys are to be driven off the road under government proposals.

Pedicab
New measures proposed are designed to protect hard-working drivers. Stock image courtesy of Gwydion M Williams under Creative Commons licence.

An estimated 400 of the unregulated vehicles operate in central London and the government wants to take dangerous ones off the road to keep passengers safe.

The plans are designed to deliver safer roads and are being brought forward to ensure that consumers – including tourists visiting the capital – do not get taken advantage of by drivers charging over-the-top fares.

The measures are also designed to protect hard-working drivers who already charge reasonable fares and ensure their vehicles are safe.

Under the proposals, pedicab drivers will be regulated so they are only allowed to charge reasonable fares and they will also have to meet minimum safety standards.

Police currently have the power to hit the unregulated pedicabs with civil injunctions, but the plans would give Transport for London new powers to crack down.

Outside London, pedicabs are classed in the same way as taxis so are regulated. But in London different laws operate, and now the government is acting to close the loophole.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

It’s totally unacceptable for passengers to be taken for a ride by pedicab drivers and charged rip-off fares and carried in dangerous vehicles.

We are taking action to make roads safer and ensure that these unlicensed vehicles have to meet minimum standards, just like taxi drivers.

More often than not it is tourists who feel the brunt of sharp practice from pedicabs, which gives visitors to Britain a distorted impression of our national sense of fair play.

Under the proposals, Transport for London would be responsible for setting out what is a reasonable amount to charge for a short journey.

The government expects the licensing scheme would operate in a similar way to the rules taxi and private hire vehicles have to sign up for.

The government is looking at how to bring the legislation forward in the next year.

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Published 26 May 2016