NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Council approved new regulations for pedicabs Tuesday intended to prevent tourists from being taken for a ride.
The Council unanimously voted to require that pedicab drivers charge by the minute, with the timer clearly visible.
The current pricing system for the adult tricycles with room for three passengers is confusing and can lead to sticker shock at the end of a ride. Most pedicab drivers charge by the city block and per passenger, and some add fees and surcharges. In one notorious case during the summer, a family from Texas paid more than $400 for a 14-block ride.
"We are committed to taming what we call midtown's Wild West," said City Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who sponsored the legislation. He said deception "cannot be a legitimate business practice in New York City."
Under the legislation, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will sign, pedicab drivers will charge the same amount per minute for one, two or three passengers, and they will be required to give passengers a pedicab information card that outlines the pricing system.
"In no way does this legislation seek to burden pedicab drivers," Council speaker Christine Quinn said. "Instead it seeks to bring increased legitimacy to the industry."
The New York City Pedicab Owners' Association, which represents the owners of about 100 pedicabs, said in a statement it is hopeful that the new system will reduce price gouging.
Gregg Zuman, treasurer of the organization, said raising the standards for the pedicab drivers would be a more effective measure.
At a minimum, he said, the drivers should have a license to drive a car.
But Zuman said the Council bill is a positive step. "Something has to be done," he said.