A Rickshaw driver in London redefined premium transportation today when he charged four passengers 206 pounds, or about $320, for a ride that didn’t even amount to a whole mile.
London is an expensive city, but a $100-per-minute bicycle ride is absurd. The rickshaw driver peddled his tourist passengers from Oxford Circus to Marble Arch, which caused some confusion when the passengers arrived at their destination and were asked to fork over an immodest $319.
Cab driver Richard Long managed to get the entire spectacle on video. He got out of his vehicle when he realized what the rickshaw driver was doing and involved himself in the situation.
He asked the rickshaw driver if he had a license to charge such outrageous rates, but the bicycle driver answered in the affirmative. The rickshaw driver defended his fee by saying he was providing a service and that his prices were listed on his vehicle.
Before long, the scene caught the attention of two police officers who insisted that the rickshaw driver rethink his rates. The officials told the driver that he was “extorting the tourists” and “blatantly ripping them off.”
Long told the Evening Standard that for the same distance, he would have charged $10. He said:
“To be fleecing tourists like that — it’s just disgusting what they’re doing.”
Councillor Richard Beddoe of the Westminster City Council responded to the video by saying:
“We are truly shocked at the audacity shown in this video. We have long argued for greater regulation and licensing on rickshaws, not only to avoid clear rip offs like this, but to reduce congestion and improve safety on our streets.”
London rickshaw services have been a topic of popular debate recently. London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he wants to ban both rickshaws and minicabs to decrease traffic congestion and to better ensure the safety of passengers. Johnson does not have the authority to enact such a law by himself, so he is seeking government legislation to ban pedicabs.