Thursday, May 26

Rickshaw driver demands £600 for 30 minute ride



A London rickshaw driver has been caught on camera trying to charge two tourists £600 for a half-hour journey.

In the video, filmed by a passer-by outside Selfridges on Oxford Street, the driver claims that a rate of £10 a minute had been agreed.

He appears to point to a tariff displayed inside the vehicle, implying that the customer was agreeing to these charges by getting in, and refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer.

“How do you charge £600 for half an hour?” asks the customer, Engin Isguzar, who finally hands over £250 – all he has in his wallet.

The video has been described as ‘shocking’ by Westminster City Council, which has been calling for rickshaws, or pedicabs, to be licensed.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Mr Isguzar, from the Netherlands, said that no price had been agreed beforehand.

“We thought it would be just like in Istanbul or Holland – it shouldn’t cost a lot,” he said.

“We said it was too much money, we hadn’t got so much money in our pockets. We told him we couldn’t pay it, I didn’t think it was normal to pay £600.”

Since the video was uploaded last Saturday it has been viewed more than 27,000 times.

There have been concerns about the behaviour of rickshaw drivers for some time. This summer, one made headlines by trying to charge a woman and her son a shocking £206 for a ten-minute trip. He, too, claimed that the going rate was £10 a minute.

See the video below:

The industry association for rickshaw drivers, the London Pedicabs Operators Association (LPOA) has a code of conduct specifying that a price should be agreed before the ride. However, it doesn’t say what that price should be, leaving drivers free to charge extortionate amounts.

And London mayor Boris Johnson has repeatedly called them a menace, saying they clog up the city’s streets and endanger passengers. He is calling for them to be regulated by Transport for London.

In the meantime, Camden council is hoping to introduce a public space protection order allowing them to take action over loud music, inconsiderate parking and aggressive touting for trade.

Similar regulations are already in force on Oxford Street: in September, two rickshaw drivers were successfully prosecuted for stopping in Oxford Street and causing congestion.