London pedicab driver charged man £500 for 10-minute trip

  • Published
Image source, Westminster City Council
Image caption,
A pedicab driver was fined by Westminster Council in February for charging £180 for a three-minute journey

A man who was charged £500 for a short pedicab trip in central London is calling for the cabs to be regulated.

The tourist said he was "distracted" by the driver when he made a card payment for the 10-minute journey on 29 July.

He later realised £500 had been taken from his account by the driver straight after the ride from Mayfair to Soho.

Currently, pedicab drivers may operate without a licence and set their own prices. However, the government has said new laws will be introduced.

The man, who wants to remain anonymous, told the LDRS he was scammed while on a night out with friends.

"I'd had a few drinks, and I should have realised but I blindly put my card in the machine," he said.

"He was good at what he did."

The man has reported the incident to Westminster City Council and hopes the driver will be caught and ordered to give the money back.

"It's £500. I'm not going to let that go. He should be fined £5,000 and have his pedicab taken off him," he said.

"They obviously need to be regulated like taxis and they need to be licensed. At the end of the day, these guys could be anyone."

'Wild West of pedicabs'

Image source, Westminster City Council
Image caption,
Five pedicab operators were fined a total of £5,000 for various offences in a recent crackdown

Westminster Council said it had recently cracked down on "nuisance" pedicab drivers in the West End and had issued new guidelines on how they should operate.

A driver who charged £180 for a three-minute trip was made to repay the fare, during a council operation in February.

And after a joint operation with the Met Police, six drivers were prosecuted recently and fined more than £5,000 in total for making noise and annoying locals. Another was fined more than £1,000 after giving a false name and address.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in April that new laws would be introduced, to control what he called "the Wild West of pedicabs or rickshaws".

Westminster Council leader Adam Hug said: "Unlicensed pedicabs are a dangerous nuisance across the West End. We've had enough of drivers blocking pavements, annoying residents and businesses late at night, and charging extortionate fares to visitors."

He added: "People visiting the West End deserve to be able to travel through our city safely without being ripped off. We will continue to work with the police and take action against any pedicab drivers who flout the law."

Follow BBC London on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to [email protected]

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.