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Pedicabs: Rise of Rickshaws Downtown

A New Alternative Form of Nighttime Transportation

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 --- Recorded Archive Available for Network Members

In the last decade, cities across the United States have experienced significant growth in pedicab service. Found in hospitality zones and other tourist areas, pedicabs (also known as cycle rickshaws) are mainly used for short sightseeing rides as alternatives to taxi cabs and mass public transportation.

In New York City especially, pedicabs have been serving locals and tourists for many years. Pedicabs offer many distinct advantages over other transportation services: they boast zero emissions and have space for advertising; they offer a flexible and healthy job to the operator; they can bypass traffic; and they offer a unique, scenic ride. This new breed of pedal-powered businesses also reflects the growing success of the bicycle movement in the U.S.

The growth of pedicabs has drawn the attention of city planners, managers and police. As in all popular modes of transportation, pedicab accidents do occur and safety regulation has gained traction. Now is the time for cities to consider the role that pedicabs can assume in their hospitality zones, and how that goal can be achieved

Presentation Highlights

  • Impact: How do pedicabs affect vibrancy and safety in a hospitality zone? What risks and benefits are associated with increased pedicab service, and how should cities respond?

  • Regulation: Should pedicabs be regulated like taxis or bicycles? Many cities have passed safety regulations for pedicab service, and some have even limited service during rush hour or within hospitality zones. A few have even begun to license pedicabs and limit their numbers. What is the appropriate amount of regulation to ensure competition and vibrancy while upholding safety?

  • Ambassadors: How can pedicab operators be incorporated as ambassadors of sociability? Like taxi drivers, pedicab operators are in constant communication with hospitality zone patrons. Can they promote events? Should they charge a flat rate or ask for tips? Who makes a good pedicab driver?


Steve Myer, Founder and President

Main Street Pedicabs, Inc.

Ben Morris

Pedicab Outdoor

A Division of USA Pedicab, Inc.

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The Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1983 with a mission to assist businesses and communities to plan safe and vibrant places to socialize. RHI's Sociable City Network creates an organized and more secure opportunity to connect and share information with peers and access resources from RHI and attend RHI online and onsite events at reduced rates.

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