Columbus Working On Regulations For Pedicab Industry
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- June 14, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am #543429June 14, 2013 1:56 am at 1:56 am #543430
Is it really “devious” though? They seem to be pretty upfront about what they’re doing.
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.
I have no problem with what they are doing as long as they are not against the city auctioning the appropriated licenses rather than just handing them out. If the city doesn’t auction them, then they need to be non-transferrable.June 14, 2013 3:05 am at 3:05 am #543431
The thing that bothers me a little is how they are pushing this as a safety issue (because who doesn’t want safety) but they neglect to mention that there are already laws making it illegal to run these without lights at night or down the street in the opposite direction. Maybe it is all about how they are coming across in the presentation.June 15, 2013 5:13 am at 5:13 am #543432
Hi Folks. Jason here. The strikingly handsome brown fellow from the article about these pedicab regulations. I thought I’d chime in and address some of your concerns.
I can tell you that there truly is no ulterior motive to what’s been happening here. While it’s true that we hit the point of saturation at some game days, driving the out-of-towners away isn’t our primary concern, if at all. While most of the “gypsies,” as we in the industry call them, seems to operate safely and courteously, there are some who use a style of trailer cab that has concerned many of us. They are clasped onto any regular bicycle, and don’t have brakes that could stop the trailer in time in case of an emergency. There are also occasionally issues with lack of lights and disregard for traffic laws as well. While we’ve never seen any type of incident happen. We came to realize that there is no accountability for any of them, or even ourselves for that matter.
As leftovers points out, it’s true that there are laws about operating without lights at night already. But there is no one enforcing these laws, unfortunately.
The 40 cab cap is actually something that all local drivers are unsure of, and disagree among ourselves about. There are about 27 local pedicabs. The number was thrown out to give us room to grow and to allow a few safe gypsies the opportunity to operate here if they’re willing to jump through the same hoops and keep the same standards as we do. As I’ve stated, we’re unsure about it. But the city has been very easy to work with, and will literally go with whatever number we suggest. Also, we’ll be able to alter it each year, as we’ll have a pedicab driver represented on the Vehicle for Hire Board.
I would also like to state here that I don’t necessarily speak for all pedicab drivers and companies here in Columbus. While I do feel it’s been a relatively pleasant process with great respect shown both ways between the city and our industry, there was a good deal of compromise that had to be met. Not every owner or driver is happy with all of the new rules they’ll need to be following. And none of us are particularly thrilled about the additional operating costs that we’ll be facing.
Personally, I try not to lose sight of the fact that this all could have come about without us being involved at all. Or worse, if it was felt that we weren’t worth the trouble, we could’ve been shut down entirely.
Anyway, if anyone has any questions or anything, please feel free to ask.June 15, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am #543433
Is there a place where we can send suggestions to city council about this?
One of the issues that stands out is that the pedicab should have to carry some type of insurance to cover the medical bills for injury of the driver and passengers in case of an accident and possible damage to property or third parties (ie pedestrians). I am not sure how it is currently done and if drivers for companies are covered under workers compensation laws and whether the owners of companies are required to pay into that. Many industries try to skirt Ohio labor laws by incorrectly labeling employees as independent contractors.
Currently bicycles do not require insurance, but pedicabs are a different model especially as a for profit transportation system.
I remember how devestating the bills for Shawn Slivinski http://supportshawn.weebly.com/ were when he had his head injury from an accident while biking.
In general though I agree that historically a lot of regulations are lobbied for by companies in order to throw up barriers to entry – ie, eliminate the competition in its cradle. Imho, keeping ease of entry open is important to a vibrant urban environment.June 15, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm #543434
+1 on insurance coverage and some type of clearly visible license plate (I guess like a cars for individual identification) if we are headed down this route.June 15, 2013 1:16 pm at 1:16 pm #543435
How much does a pedicab cost? It sounds like a fun way to make some extra money as I live near the SN and OSU. It would also help keep my gut off. From looking around the internet it looks like you can make some pretty decent money if you are social and can get people into your cab.
Looks like you can get started for around $850 –
this link has a good description:
You could add a few more lights and turn signals for around $30.June 15, 2013 1:53 pm at 1:53 pm #543436
Anyway, if anyone has any questions or anything, please feel free to ask.
Thanks for taking the time to chime in on this, Jason!June 15, 2013 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #543437
No prob, Walker!
It’s probably too late to send suggestions that will see any results, as the final draft of the code is going before the council in a week or so. But if you still want to make your voice heard, direct your thoughts to the Dept of Public Safety.
Carrying an insurance policy is indeed one of the owner’s requirements in the new legislation. Many of us locally have been doing this all along. It can actually get pretty pricey as there are only a handful of insurers out there for us and premiums for a single cab for a year can reach over $1000 with some companies (the average being around $700 per cab). This covers all liability to the passengers, and some on the driver depending on the policy.
Each driver will be required to display their city issued Pedicab Driver’s License (similar to the picture ID cards ECT have been displaying for the last four years). Each actual pedicab will be required to display in reflective lettering the name of the company or owner of the pedicab, as well as a city issued ID number. Not quite a license plate. But enough markings to identify a specific pedicab if the need arises, and something I am personally in high favor of.
The business model of pedicab work with most companies is a true Independent Contractor agreement. Drivers pay a rent and go out and make whatever they can and keep they’re earnings. At ECT, we make the bulk of our revenue from selling ad space and making those ads visible by keeping the cabs in operation as often as possible. So we maintain a very fair and low rent structure to keep our drivers happy.
I would honestly be wary of purchasing a $850 pedicab. This is defiantly one of those things where you get what you pay for. Main Street Pedicabs are the industry standard. I’ve never heard of or seen one like that Shimano pictured. But I can tell you that a lot of off brand or privately built pedicabs can be very heavy, difficult to operate or purchase parts for, or just plain cheap. I definitely suggest doing research on it before plunking down the money..June 15, 2013 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #543438
It appears to be an inexpensive business to get started in. It would be a shame to price or lock out those who want to work with superfluous regulations. There is a real need for jobs like this.June 15, 2013 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #543439
It appears to be an inexpensive business to get started in. It would be a shame to price or lock out those who want to work with superfluous regulations. There is a real need for jobs like this.
Hence throwing up the artificial barriers, I’m all for ensuring safety and consistency, but not at the cost of locking out new folks. I guess my biggest gripe is the cap on licenses, which may be necessary, but safeguards need to be in place to ensure that no more than a specific % can be owned by individual businesses. Maybe there’s a renewable, but lower cost non-transferable license to individual owners. I’ve never taken a pedicab, but I like the character they bring to the city, I’d just hate on one hand for them to be like our taxis where there is no apparent minimum quality levels or on the other hand one or two businesses gobbling up the entire market.June 15, 2013 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #543440
Not sure why there would be only 40 licenses for a city bigger than Boston? Even on the best day I doubt all 40 would be out and I would imagine there are plenty of places they could be. This appears a growing socially conscious form of transportation. I think sweat equity should trump redundant regulations. If they are saying it appears to be closed to further tangible input then I am agreeing it is being fast tracked through the process.June 15, 2013 9:55 pm at 9:55 pm #543441
If the model is advertising with using independent contractors as employees then startup costs are really chump change compared to other businesses. There has been much talk about a circulator bus running from downtown parking through the SN. I imagine that a similar system could be set up with pedicabs playing a strong role. Even if the drivers worked only off tips they would probably do ok. Even a couple of rides an hour would probably beat minimum wage and I imagine them doing much better than that.June 16, 2013 1:40 am at 1:40 am #543442
With relatively low costs and only 40 licenses for the entire city it would be pretty easy for a couple of pedicab companies to control the market. Is there a limit to how many licenses one company can purchase?August 31, 2013 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #543443
Columbus Approves Licenses For 18 Pedicab Operators
Friday August 30, 2013 6:15 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State football fans will see newly licensed pedicabs rolling on campus streets starting this weekend. The city of Columbus approved the first round of licenses for 18 operators on Thursday.
READ MORE: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2013/08/30/columbus-pedicabs.html
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