‘Lawless’ pedicab drivers ruining central London and endangering visitors, warn West End businesses


uisance pedicab operators are endangering visitors and threatening the reputation of the West End, local business owners have warned.

Bright pink pedicab operators have become a feature of any night in Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Soho.

Blaring out loud music through the streets, weaving through packs of people and ripping off customers for short journeys, business owners in the local area have warned of the damage the operators are having on the West End’s worldwide reputation.

“I think they are lawless and they should be controlled,” Simon Thomas, chief executive of the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, told the Standard. “We’ve let our visitors down as pedicabs are unregulated, uninsured, dangerous, anti-social, play loud music and park where they like, when they like.”

Across the road, Fadil Maqedonci, owner of Koha Restaurant and Bar, warned the impact the operators are having on business is “immense”.

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Fadil Maqedonci, owner of Koha Restaurant and Bar

/ Evening Standard

“It’s just become the Wild West”, Mr Maqedonci, who has owned his restaurant for 30 years and is a local resident to the area said . “We are doing everything we can to get back on our feet after Covid and this is affecting us a lot.”

He then went on to say: “The way the issue is being ignored, it’s not going to be long before someone loses their life because of what’s going on with pedicabs.”

At the moment, however, there is no legislation available to tackle and stop the operators sweeping through central London bar fining drivers if they are playing loud music after 9pm.

It had been hoped that there would be direct legislation included in a Transport Bill to tackle the issue earlier this year, but the government shelved the plans due to lack of Parliamentary time.

Last month, eight pedicab operators were caught blasting out music past 9pm contravening the Control of Pollution Act 1974 by Westminster Council officers and will be issued court dates.

In March, another eight operators were issued a total of £4,792 in fines at London Magistrates Court.

Cllr Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing told the Standard: “Our businesses play a crucial part in supporting Westminster’s vibrant night-time economy, not only in Soho but in across the city.

“However, they are plagued by pedicabs who annoy guests, ride dangerously close to outside tables, clog up theatre entrances causing accessibility and safety risks, and act in a dangerous manner with no regard for legitimate trading practices.”

“City Inspectors do their best to support businesses and prevent pedicabs ruining their livelihoods but without clear legislation they will always find new way to push the boundaries. I hope the tide is turning but we urgently need more powers from central government.”


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