The Government intends to support a law which would require pedicabs in Greater London to be subjected to a similar level of regulation as taxis and other private hire vehicles.
Environment minister Lord Benyon has announced the Government will be supporting Conservative MP Nickie Aiken’s Private Member’s Bill, due to have a second reading in the Commons on Friday November 19.
He did so as the House of Lords continued poring over the detail of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, in their sixth day of Committee scrutiny.
Under the Pedicabs (London) Bill, introduced by the MP for Cities of London and Westminster, drivers of pedal-powered vehicles would need a licence from Transport for London (TfL) to operate, with TfL being given the power to regulate the prices they charge and the vehicles they use would have to be of a safe standard.
The minister said: “The Government is aware of the long-standing concerns that pedicabs contribute to safety and traffic related issues in central London. The current situation in London means that there are very few existing powers to control pedicab operations effectively.
“This has been that pedicab operators, drivers and their vehicles are not licenced, there are no requirements for drivers to undergo a criminal record or right to work checks, there is no fair control and and there may very well be insurance issues.”
He added: “The Government notes that there is currently a Private Member’s Bill, which would enable Transport for London to regulate pedicabs in London being taken forward by Nickie Aiken MP, the Pedicabs (London) Bill.
“I’m pleased to be able to confirm that the Government intends to join the very long list pointed out by Baroness Stowell, and support this Bill.”
Lord Benyon’s comments came after former Tory leader in the Lords Baroness Stowell of Beeston urged the Government to make a few amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
These would have brought pedicabs within the scope of the offence of causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving and would have dealt with the nuisance noise by “preventing the loud music they play all day and night”.
She said: “We need regulation so that pedicabs meet the same standards we expect of other forms of public transport. I have no personal interest in this matter. I don’t live in any of the areas affected.
“I have no connection to any of the groups who have been lobbying for this change, but it bothers me greatly as I go about my business in London, that our black cabs which are synonymous with London, around the world and an important part of our reputation for quality and highest standards are forever facing more restrictions, but vehicles and drivers which too often are a disgrace to our reputation, are allowed to operate without having to comply with any law, regulation or rule.”
Baroness Stowell withdrew the amendments following Lord Benyon’s announcement.