New special pedicab licence on agenda ahead of summer

Pedicabs such as this one may soon need a new type of licence in Waveney. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Pedicabs such as this one may soon need a new type of licence in Waveney. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Pedicab and tuk-tuk drivers across Waveney may have to get the same licence as taxi drivers as part of a policy proposal from Waveney District Council.

The licencing committee meeting on Wednesday, April 4, will vote on whether to support the policy which could see all pedicab drivers forced to obtain a Hackney Carriage Driving Licence before being able to transport customers using a pedicab or rickshaw for a fare.

This would see both motorised and pedal-powered rickshaw drivers go through the same criminal records check as taxi drivers and to hold a full driver's licence and medical certificate to DVLA's standards.

However, the proposal will not see rickshaw riders subject to the same geographical tests which taxi drivers must pass to obtain their licences.

Instead, any rickshaws applying for a licence will be restricted to predetermined routes in agreement with the town council.

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The motion could see volunteer rickshaw riders such as those who work for Cycling Without Age, a non-profit company which provides 'trishaw' rides for free to the elderly, hurt by the changes.

As part of the consultation process, Suffolk Police said: 'we would want the same licencing criteria as taxis. That way all the relevant checks can be carried out.'

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Taxi drivers asked to comment on the proposal were, in general, supportive of the move.

Bryan Grant said: 'I have no objections to them operating in the Waveney area during summer and autumn months. Preferably off the main highway. Preferably for usage along the Promenade as they are slow moving. Will be a nice feature to our town.'

Another, however, was less enthusiatic about the possibility of rickshaws on the streets of Waveney towns.

P Vigo di Gallidoro said: 'They seem to do nothing but cause chaos. They do not abide by any rules, they pick up passengers from taxi ranks, do flag-downs and charge whatever they think.

'I see no way that proper control could be administered over these rickshaws. Saying the vehicles would only be allowed to do set routes on set prices is living in cuckoo land.'

The proposal has also stated Southwold Town Council's reluctance to allow rickshaw operation in the town, saying no applications for rickshaw licences would be considered there.

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