Pedicabs to Begin Using Timers to Determine Rates

By Nicholas Zifcak, Epoch Times
July 12, 2013 6:16 am Last Updated: July 12, 2013 6:38 am

NEW YORK—Straightforward pricing for cycle pedicabs takes effect July 12, which is a welcome change for both local and visiting patrons.

Come Friday, pedicab drivers must clearly display their per-minute rates and use a city-approved stopwatch for keeping time. Up to now, drivers set ride rates based on a confusing mix of dollars per block, per avenue, per person, and per minute. Some used the lack of transparency to take advantage of customers.

“We’re hoping it drives out the bad actors,” said Peter Meitzler, co-founder of the New York City Pedicab Owners’ Association, who spoke with the Epoch Times by phone.

The city allows for up to 850 licenses, but Meitzler estimates there are only 400 to 500 pedicabs operating on New York streets. He expects that with increased regulation, the industry will shrink further as the law takes effect.

Both locals and tourists ride pedicabs. Customers have been complaining to the Pedicab Owners’ Association of being grossly overcharged, some as much as $400 for a ride. Meitzler thinks the new rules will be great for customers and hopes to hear fewer complaints, eventually restoring trust in the industry.

Starting Friday, pedicabs must have the price—generally $1 to $3 per minute—displayed on the side of their carts. Drivers can no longer charge per passenger; the rate will be the same for one, two, or three passengers. They must also give customers a receipt that includes a license ID number. Pedicab information cards, advising customers of the rules—such as no taxes or additional fees allowed, no gratuity required, and how to register a complaint—are to be made available by all drivers.

“When we’re good, we’re great,” said Meitzler, noting that pedicabs offer a mix of transportation and entertainment at a great pace to take in Central Park and the rest of the city.