City of Columbus Working on Regulations for Pedicabs
The city is looking to regulate pedicabs for the first time, requiring operators to set standard rates and pay a fee for licenses and annual background checks for drivers. Despite the additional costs and potential red tape, local operators are generally supportive of the proposal; in fact, it was kind of their idea in the first place.
Jason Biundo, Managing Partner at E.C.T. Pedicab, initially reached out to the city years ago, worried about a lack of standards in the industry and the negative impact that the occasional unsafe or unsavory operator could have on his business.
“I have always been wary of seeing fares get into pedicabs and leave without knowing what they’ll be paying,” said Biundo. “My concern with it is that I would never want to see someone feeling as if they paid more than they thought the ride was worth. That person would be unlikely to ever take a pedicab again, and that’s bad for business.”
Another concern was out-of-town operators that swooped in for big events like OSU football games. Under the proposed regulations, all operators would have to go through the same process to receive a license and be eligible to work in Columbus.
Biundo says that the Short North Alliance reached out to pedicab operators last fall and helped to set up meetings with the city’s Department of Public Safety, who had been looking into regulating the industry.
“I think the fact that the city sought us out and allowed us to contribute so heavily to the codes speaks volumes about their appreciation for what we add to Columbus,” explained Biundo. “When the dust settles, I anticipate any skepticism to fade quickly and that a stronger, more legitimate pedicab industry will be in place to service Columbus for many years to come.”
The draft regulations, which City Council is set to consider on June 17th, call for 40 licenses to be issued and will require pedicabs to display their rates and maintain safety features like turn signals and brake lights.
Reactions to the proposal from the various stakeholders have been mostly positive so far, according to Biundo, who recalls Councilwoman Michelle Mills “taking a moment to remark about how nice it was to see smiling faces at a public hearing for once.”
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Photo by Logan Miller of www.LCMphoto.org.