The continuing lack of regulation of pedicabs in London remains a concern to residents and visitors alike, and I have enormous sympathy with locals in the West End and beyond who detest the noise and disruption caused by unlicensed pedicabs.
At present, pedicabs are not subject to regulation and as a result have no need for insurance, no fixed or regular pricing and neither vehicle condition nor driver quality is assessed. The behaviour of pedicab operators results in problems for businesses as they block highways, not to mention the harassment of tourists and by-passers, as well as causing serious risks to pedestrians and other road users. Given the large number of pedicabs in the constituency, their uregulation is serious cause from alarm.
In 2010, I tabled a debate in Parliament, pressing the Government of the day to do something to control pedicabs. Unfortunately, the Department for Transport resisted calls for regulation, so I instead continued my contact with Westminster City Council and the local police to try to get existing parking and traffic regulations enforced. Naturally, we were still keen to get legislation to control the non-motorised vehicles, so when I was successful in the Private Member’s Bill ballot, I decided to use the opportunity to put down a Pedicabs Bill. I did this with the help of Westminster City Council who assisted in its drafting.
Unfortunately, as I was low down in the ballot, the Bill was unlikely ever to have made it through parliament, particularly as the session was cut short by a General Election. The legislation therefore got dropped when the parliament ended.
Earlier in 2017, the anticipation was for the Government to bring forward appropriate legislation to which a clause or amendment could be added to legislate for regulation. The General Election meant that potential Bills in which such clauses could be included fell away, but I am encouraged to see that the Government is keeping tabs on this issue and are engaging with local stakeholders. I have recently met with some of these stakeholders to discuss matters further and have supported their efforts in taking this forward with officials and Ministers in Government. I will be keeping a close eye on this matter as it develops and I hope that parliamentary time allows for the Government to bring forward appropriate legislation.
The Council's cabinet member for City Highways, Cllr Danny Chalkley, recently met with the Transport Minister to reiterate the urgent need to resolve the issue of pedicab regulation which has rumbled on for far too long.
It is encouraging that channels of communication remain open between the Government and the Council, and I shall be ready to lend my support to Cllr Chalkley as and when the moment arises.