Update: I’m getting more information now; watch for our Talkin’ Transit feature tomorrow with more details.
According to a heads-up from a reader, the Park Police are now arresting and impounding pedicabs that operate on Madison and Jefferson Streets around the National Mall. This policy goes into effect today and will most likely kill a 100% eco-friendly form of transportation in the heart of the tourist district of the city.
The reason Park Police are giving is that the pedicabs are soliciting business on the mall and advertising…but isn’t that what normal cabs and buses in the same area are doing already with sideboards and logos?
Anyone who has more info on this, share, because at a glance this isn’t looking all that kosher.
Ok, so: I’m a pedicab driver for national pedicabs, in fact, that’s me on the left in the photo. What has happened is that the park police have threatened to issue tickets to drivers riding on Jefferson and Madison between 4th and 14th, saying that it is off limits to us. Such a fact would be crushing to our business. However, we learned today from the dept of the interior that the code of federal regulations says, basically, that pedicabs must behave like taxicabs. All that basically means is that we cannot solicit on mall sidewalks and paths – it seems to have no implication for us not to use Jefferson or Madison, so long as we park at designated taxi pickup spots. Unless there is some new policy (I’m not directly aware of any), the claim seems bogus. some of the friction is related to complaints from tourmobile sightseeing. Subsidized with federal money, they have pressured the park service, whom they work closely with, to crack down on pedicabs (perhaps because we are taking some of their marketshare? Who knows). The other factor is that there are apparently a lot of fresh park police recruits out there looking to lay down the law. Either way, taking Jefferson and Madison away from our use would devastate a great, and, yes, very green business. We provide a superior and legitimate service, let’s not kill it.
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