NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A crackdown has been launched against rogue pedicab drivers.
Soon they’ll have a new set of rules designed to prevent passenger rip-offs. As CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday, they’ve been given “fare” warning.
It’s what some call “highway robbery” — pedicab drivers who have become “roads scholars” at fleecing unsuspecting customers.
“We get all of the complaints. In the last couple of weeks we got one for $500 to go from here to the Meat Packing District,” said Laramie Flick, acting president of the NYC Pedicab Owners Association.
Flick said the customer complaint that really infuriated him came two weeks ago from a Japanese tourist, who, according to an email he received, got an astounding bill at the end of a 20-minute ride.
“She asked the driver how much, and he pointed to a sign that said $5,” said an email on behalf of the tourist who speaks little English. “When they arrived at the destination, he said $520! They were absolutely shocked, but having no idea what to do in such a situation, they just handed over their credit card. Upon returning to Japan, they saw on the credit card statement a charge of $720.”
“That is outrageous. I mean 20 minutes for $720? That’s serious money,” Flick said.
Gross abuses like that are why Flick and other serious drivers are supporting new rules for pedicab drivers that will force them to post large signs charging by the minute and stopwatches calibrated by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
“We like it. Yeah, because a lot of things have been said about this job. Some of them are ripping [off] people,” driver Pato Dondasse said.
Under the present rules the signs are confusing. In small type they say $5 to get into the cab, $2 for each regular block, $3 for a cross town block — and that’s per person.
So the tab for two people to go just 10 blocks is $50.
The new law goes into effect on July 12.
The legit drivers are warning passengers to be extra careful taking a pedicab ride before the new rules go into effect. They claim rogue drivers are in over drive to take advantage of people while they can.