Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The City Council is set to approve a bill on Tuesday that would force pedicabs to let riders know the cost of a trip upfront.
The measure, sponsored by Manhattan City Councilman Dan Garodnick, will keep pedicab drivers from slipping fine print into posted charges — a practice some say leads to price gouging.
"We have seen some very high-profile scams of tourists in New York City by pedicab drivers. And unfortunately much of that was done in a way which was allowed by law,” Garodnick said. “Deception should not be a legitimate business practice in New York City.
Pedicabs will now charge riders by duration, rather than distance or any other system set up by the driver and will need to install meters. All costs associated with a ride must be posted in plain view of passengers, and no added fees — such as additional costs for multiple riders — will be allowed.
Pedicab drivers will still be allowed to set their own rates, however.
The Department of City Affairs will continue to regulate pedicabs. The legislation, which passed without a vote against, will go into effect by April.
Cab owners will be responsible for the cost of updating their pedicabs.
A first-time violation for not posting rates can be as high as $500, with subsequent violations reaching as high as $4,000.
Continued violations for not posting proper signage can result in a loss of license.
The new regulations are supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all but ensuring the legislation will become law. The Department of Consumer Affairs currently licenses 143 pedicab companies and 1,388 pedicab drivers.