Westminster City Council has, ahead of the King’s Speech on 7 November, urged the UK government to deliver its ‘long-promised’ Transport Bill as part of the legislative agenda to support the regulation of vehicles such as pedicabs and dockless bikes, among others.
The local authority has expressed that the Transport Bill is necessary to keep pedestrians and road users safe and that it will be needed if the government is to provide regulation in some of the areas it has long promised but failed to address.
It has likewise argued that the bill should introduce rules to ensure all pedicabs are licensed with Transport for London (TfL), thus ensuring that the council has the ability to both protect customers by giving them identifiable information and cap the number in operation.
Cllr Aicha Less, deputy leader and cabinet member for communities, public protection and licensing, said: “It’s clear that the government have been freewheeling when it comes to providing proper legislation on pedicabs.
“Anyone who goes out in the West End can see how real the issue is, our city inspectors are trying to combat pedicabs with one hand tied behind their backs.
“We’ll continue to enforce what powers we have to take these rip-off rickshaws off the streets, but we need a Transport Bill in November with clearly defined legislation that gives more power to us and TfL.”
The power to regulate pedicab pricing is also something the authority has called for, to prevent pedicab drivers from exploiting customers.
In July this year, a Belgian tourist was charged more than £450 for a seven-minute ride in a pedicab ride. When she complained, she reported being made to feel threatened by the driver.
Legislation is needed to ensure the council can fully prosecute pedicab drivers, outside of just noise and nuisance charges.
Recent prosecutions of pedicab drivers saw three riders fined under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, with fees ranging from £765 to £1,175. The total amount of fines issued to date is almost £35,000, the council added.
These legal powers are limited, though. Under current legislation, city inspectors cannot protect people from being charged high fares or getting in unsafe or unlicensed pedicabs.
Westminster City Council is a finalist for the second annual CiTTi Awards in The Last-Mile Delivery Award category. The ceremony will be held on 21 November 2023 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector – and to book your table today!