Johnson is seeking new powers to regulate the vehicles, which have become infamous for causing traffic jams in the West End in particular. He has also recently pledged to cap the number of minicabs in London in a bid to protect the city’s struggling iconic black cabs. There were an estimated 13,000 new private hire drivers in the capital last year, partly owing to the rise in popularity of cab-hailing apps such as Uber and Hailo.
|Boris Johnson is looking to crack down on pedicabs in the capital
The Mayor first made his intentions to ban pedicabs – the official name for the rickshaw-style vehicles – known back in 2012, and said:
“Although there a number of responsible pedicab companies, the fact is that these vehicles jam up the capital’s roads and consistently fail to ensure the safety of their passengers.”
Pedicabs operate using a loophole in the 1869 Metropolitan Public Carriage Act, making them able to operate free from regulation as they are classed as ‘stage carriages.’ If the Mayor wants to enforce a ban on the rickshaw, this long-standing legislation will need to be rewritten, which is likely to be a lengthy and difficult process.
The London Pedicab Operators Association claims that there are only 650 rickshaws operating in the city, with Labour London Assembly member Val Shawcross arguing that while regulation on the vehicles is needed, a complete ban on pedicabs would be “a step too far.”
In an interview with the BBC, Shawcross said:
“What is needed is a much greater level of control, with just a limited number of licences given to operate for tourists in a small number of safe locations.”
“If Londoners want to use them for their personal use that is their choice, but let’s be clear that rickshaws should not be operating as taxis.”
It’s claimed that the past four years have seen over 20 collisions and accidents involving rickshaws that have resulted in injuries to passengers, according to a report recently submitted to the government.