ew laws to licence pedicabs and rickshaws are to be introduced by the Government, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed on Wednesday.
Pedicab operators in the West End have been accused of ripping off tourists and being a nuisance by playing loud music. Police and Westminster Council have expressed frustration at the limited powers they have to tackle the problem.
Giving evidence to MPs on the Transport Select Committee, Mr Shapps said legislation will be introduced in the next session of Parliament to control what he described as “the wild west of pedicabs or rickshaws”.
He added: “There isn’t any legislation which accurately enables any type of licensing or regulation. It’s time – it’s high time – I know Parliament has expressed interest through a series backbench bills that for one reason or another…have not proceeded through Parliament. We will do that on Government time in the Transport Bill.”
The move was immediately welcomed by Nickie Aiken, the Conservative MP Cities of London and Westminster, who has campaigned for tougher regulation to clamp down on pedicabs.
“I’m absolutely delighted that finally after a decade of rying to secure legislation to licence pedicabs we have got it over the line,” Ms Aiken said.
“The Prime Minister took a personal interest in this because he knows how dangerous some of these vehicles and drivers are and made sure the noise and anti-social behaviour of some of these drivers will now come to an end.”
The Government said in November last year it intended to support a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Ms Aitken which would require pedicabs in Greater London to be subjected to a similar level of regulation as taxis and other private hire vehicles.
But the move was blocked by veteran Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope.
Sources said the new legislation, which will now be incorporated in the wide ranging Transport Bill to be included in the Queen’s Speech on May 10, will be similar to the proposal tabled by Ms Aiken last year.
If passed that could see drivers requiring a licence from Transport for London (TfL) to operate while TfL would be given the power to regulate the prices they charge and the vehicles they use would have to be of a safe londonbusinessblog.
Ms Aiken said previously: “It’s not about removing all pedicabs from our streets but ensuring that they operate in a safer way for everyone”.