The negative comments about certain pedicab experiences in NYC are too common an occurrence. Indeed, we would often field complaints that came in to the best practices email account about these experiences, and even though they were not our pedicabs or drivers, we would try to assist (which we did famously in one incident where a Texas family of four was grossly overcharged…and it made major headlines in the NY Post). That driver (working with another pedicab operator) was forced out of the industry. Hence, this page is a guide to how to hire a pedicab properly and have a great experience. We don’t want to find a review on YELP because some basic pre-trip steps were skipped. So see below, hire smartly, and have fun.
Manhattan Rickshaw currently has a small fleet operating in this semi-post-COVID moment we are in, and in addition we primarily provide special event services.
We helped start this service in the mid-90s, and every driver was involved in the environmental movement in one way or another. For two years, we gave rides away for free as we did our market research. Cut to the present time, and you have drivers running around midtown without any pricing info at all on their pedicabs, or obscured pricing info (cleverly hidden by their canopies), and playing the surprise-your-passenger game each and every day. Many solo pedicab owners and fleet operators have been to scores of meetings with the Dept. of Consumer Affairs (now called the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection) and the Consumer Affairs Committee of City Council, making the case for very simple changes such as U.S. issued and tri-state motor vehicle licenses and constant monitoring for rate card display compliance.
Just as you inspect the freshness date on a food purchase, or verify that your for hire car has a TLC plate, take the following steps in the future:
– verify that the pedicab has rate cards displayed conspicuously (required by city law);
– verify that there is a stopwatch to track the time, and watch that the driver engages it when starting the trip;
– verify that the pedicab driver is wearing a city issued pedicab driver license and it’s not expired;
– verify that the pedicab has a city issued registration sticker (at the front of the pedicab on the steerer tube — currently 4 numbers on a blue sticker);
– take a photo of the driver as you begin your trip, in case you need this in the future
– ask for a business card or other identifying information about the owner of the pedicab and the person operating it;
– verify the rate per minute with the driver before starting your trip.
Of course, you can agree on a set price for the trip, but it must not be for an amount that is higher than that indicated by the trip expressed in a per minute charge (rates must be stated in dollar amounts per minute). So a ten minute trip at $3.00 per minute can only be $30.00 for the entire group aboard, although it can also be discounted.
Sorry for the long list.
When pedicabs are good, however, they can be amazing.