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New Ordinance Would Cap Number Of Pedicabs At 200

By Amy Cavanaugh in News on May 11, 2013 8:00PM

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) has resurrected a proposal to license and regulate pedicabs.

The Wrigleyville alderman last introduced a pedicab ordinance in 2011, but the measure faced some roadblocks and stalled. At Wednesday's City Council meeting, he introduced a new ordinance he said is long overdue.

Tunney's office issued a statement saying:

“While pedicabs are a unique and green transportation option for residents and visitors, they are also the only business activity not licensed under city code. This ordinance will help legitimize the industry, increase public safety and improve the safe flow of traffic on our congested streets."

The ordinance would cap the number of pedicabs at 200 and require cabs to post fare information. They may also be banned from high-traffic areas.

According to the Sun-Times, Robert Tipton, owner of 20 pedicabs operating as Chicago Rickshaw, said, “This is a non-polluting, emission-free vehicle. Every city in the world needs that."

“Everybody who tries it comes away smiling. It also serves a real purpose. Pedicabs fit into a bike lane and between cars. They can get where they’re going quicker than a cars. It’s an urban solution. There should not be any limit. You’re just limiting the ability for people to get around. There’s also a competition between taxicabs and pedicabs. Why put a limit on the under-dog when they don’t even know how many exist? What if there’s 300 citywide?”

Tipton suggested that pedicab operators post signs that state "fares are negotiable and should be arranged before the ride begins."

“This is a bicycle. If you have a strong head-wind or passengers who weigh more than others, the driver needs to be able to adjust that rate based on conditions,” he said.

A 15-minute ride can cost $10, $20 or $30 and that flexibility should be allowed to continue, he said.

“It’s a supply-and-demand type of deal. If there’s high demand, prices are higher. If it’s low, they’ll gladly take the ride,” Tipton said.