Pedicab drivers in New York City are irritated over a particular fare one Texas family was charged over the summer, because it keeps coming back to haunt them.
The family of four ended up paying $442 for a 14-block ride after the cab operator explained that there was an additional $100 charge for their children. The problem, city officials say, is that fares–while listed on the outside of the cab–are confusing and often charge different amounts for “short” blocks and “long” blocks, which out-of-towners might not understand. Often a negotiation will take place, but if the customers don’t read carefully before hopping on, they could be in for a mammoth bill at the end of their ride.
Since that story went public, potential customers are a lot more wary of pedicabs, and operators say it’s bad for business.
“It was not good for us,” operator Souleymane Toure said. “Because any time you stop somebody for the ride they say, ‘Are you going to charge us $400?’”
With over 1,300 pedicabs in New York City, it’s become a popular mode of transportation for those who don’t want to wait in line for a taxi–a hot commodity on the crowded streets, especially during warm-weather months. Often a pedicab–a carriage pulled by an operator on a big tricycle, essentially–can move through the city faster than other modes of transportation. The biggest piece of advice a New Yorker can give a visitor is, read carefully and don’t wait until the ride is over to ask the price.
“I know there’s been some issues with people getting ripped off,” New Yorker Jeff Marcus said. “But if you ask how much it is before, and you agree to a price, you’re not going to get ripped off.”