Government cracks down on rickshaw rip-offs


The end of the road is in sight for rip-off rickshaw drivers after the Government pledged a crackdown on unregulated operators.

Drivers will be forced to charge reasonable fares under  proposals aimed at making sure tourists in London are not targeted by pedicab drivers trying to take advantage.

Last year one driver was caught on camera apparently trying to charge visitors to the capital £206 for a mile-long trip from Oxford Circus to Marble Arch.

Efforts will be made to close a loophole which allows unregulated pedicab drivers to operate in the city, unlike in other places in the UK.

Unregulated vehicles can be subject to civil injunctions by police but under the latest plans, which the Government hopes to bring into force in the next year, Transport for London will be given new powers to act against drivers.

These will include setting out what it believes are reasonable fares, and there will be minimum safety standards for drivers to adhere to, as they are required to be licensed in a similar way to taxi drivers.

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."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed the plans.

He said: "My manifesto made it clear that every Londoner and visitor to our city deserves a world-class service, whatever mode of transport they use. And this move will allow us to ensure pedicabs must make big improvements to the way they operate.

"They are going to need to match up to important safety standards and we will be able to crack down on any attempts to charge rip-off fares."