Whilst the third world is doing all it can to lose the last of these degrading pedal powered contraptions, some unscrupulous operators are clogging up the streets of the Metropolis with the same slow, traffic halting bikes.
What started out as harmless fun pedalling the odd tourist around the pedestrianised confines of Covent Garden has turned into a nightmare. The Rickshaws cause massive congestion as London’s traffic queues up behind them as they travel at little more than walking pace on major roads.
They congregate in large numbers outside theatres, shops and restaurants blocking the entrances and exits as well as the pavements outside, forcing pedestrians to negotiate the traffic as they walk in the road. The Rickshaw riders are forced to charge exorbitant sums in order to recoup the high rental fees the operator’s charge for the bikes. Anything up to £12 pound a mile is normal, whilst £30 per mile is not unusual.
As a result of the media attention into all the problems associated with the Rickshaws and serious concerns over their safety the Rickshaw operators are pushing for a simple licensing system that would allow them to continue working unhindered. London’s taxi drivers along with bus operators and drivers have to contend with the traffic problems and congestion the Rickshaws cause and feel that the only way forward is to ‘Ban! Don’t License’ The LTDA are calling on Westminster Council and the Greater London Authority to bring a halt to London’s further decline into third world status and seek statutory powers to ban Rickshaws from the streets.