Updated: Jul 2
There have been fresh calls for the banning of pedicabs after two visitors to London were charged over £500 for a short 9-minute journey.
The shocked tourists shared their story with a black cab driver after falling foul of pedicabs, which remain unregulated, despite increasing calls to either licence them or ban them completely in the future.
In a voice recording shared on social media it is alleged that the visitors were shown £60 on a fare chart, which turned out to be £60 EACH at the end of the ride. The pedicab driver then pointed to a smaller and more obscure sign inside the pedicab that stated each journey had an initial charge of £200 per person. This brought the total price up to £520.
The journey lasted no more than 9-minutes between top London restaurant Sexy Fish and their required destination 1-mile away at the Cumberland Hotel.
Last Autumn, Westminster City Council launched a new information campaign to warn residents and visitors about the dangers of using pedicabs in Central London. This came after £17,375 worth of fines were issued in the 12 months beforehand.
In partnership with the Metropolitan Police, the Council now conduct monthly operations around Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Soho and the West End to crackdown on nuisance pedicab operators.
Despite currently having limited powers to enforce the riders, in the last year, they took details from 62 operators for playing overly loud music after 9pm. 22 pedicab cases have now been heard in court resulting in over £17,000 worth of fines, costs and victim surcharges being handed out. Additionally, 27 riders have been served with written warnings for their behaviour.
The Council is continuing to work with partners at the Department for Transport and TfL to discuss how regulation should be shaped. This will ensure powers are available to officers to focus on other issues, in addition to noise.
The educational campaign launched to warn visitors to “be careful what you get into”, helps to underline how unsafe they are. Pedicabs are now proven to charge excessive fares, ignore the Highway Code, block pavements and have little or no safety specifications.