Crackdown on rogue pedicabs plaguing London backed by Parliament

Crackdown on rogue pedicabs plaguing London backed by Parliament

A new law to clamp down on rogue pedicabs in London was backed by Parliament on Tuesday.

MPs cleared the Pedicabs (London) Bill by mid-afternoon.

It will allow a licensing system to be established and run by Transport for London for pedicabs.

The legislation, which will stop tourists being ripped off, has been championed by Cities of London and Westminster Conservative MP Nickie Aiken.

She told The Standard: “After more than 10 years of campaigning, four Private members bill, today is the day we finally secure legislation to regulate pedicabs.

“The new law will provide TfL with the ability to license them to ensure the drivers and vehicles are safe, no loud music can be played and a clear fare structure in place.”

At least one Tory MP has put down a series of amendments to the bill, which in theory could have impacted its passage through the Commons.

But it is a Government bill, having been in the King’s Speech in November, so the Whips could use their powers to push it through.

The bill was introduced in the Lords and cleared the Upper Chamber in February before coming to the Commons.

Transport for London at the moment is unable to regulate pedicabs and the police have few powers to control them effectively.

So, the companies operating pedicabs are not licensed, and neither are drivers or their vehicles.

The bill will allow for the regulation of the vehicles for the first time, and stop their drivers ripping off tourists with sky-high fares, sometimes as high as £600 for journeys.

Up to 900 pedicabs are estimated operating during peak season.

However, there have been concerns many lack basic safety features and can cause traffic problems, such as parking in bus lanes or flouting one-way rules.

In addition, there is no current requirement for drivers to undergo criminal record or right to work checks and there is no fare control.

During the Commons debate, veteran Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope said: "Pedicabs are to London what gondolas are to Venice, an essential part of the colour and vibrancy of our capital city."

The Christchurch MP added: "In the same way as I don't think many people in Venice use gondolas as a means of getting from A to B quickly, pedicabs are not I think essentially used as a means as an alternative to getting on a bus or the Underground, they are there for a bit of fun and recreation.

"And why would this Conservative Government want to be legislating them out of existence? Well I don't think it does."

Sir Christopher argued that pedicabs are an "essential" part of the night-time economy, adding: "I'm sure we wouldn't want to do anything which is going to further undermine the viability of that night-time economy.

"Is this Bill then the equivalent of a morphine syringe driver, to kill off pedicabs? Or is it a necessary protector of responsible pedicab operators? Both I and I think the minister want it to be the latter."

The bill still needs to get Royal Assent and it is then expected to be a number of weeks, if not months, before the licensing system comes into force.