A rickshaw driver who charged tourists in London £206 for a one-mile journey says the fare was justified because he had to pedal uphill.
Juris Dzjabovic, 22, has been criticised after footage emerged charging the fare for a ten-minute journey along Oxford Street.
He claimed the fare should have cost twice as much.
“I charged £206 because there were four people and I was going uphill,’ Dzjabovic told the Daily Mail.
“I didn’t even charge them the full amount – it should have been £412. Sure, £10 a minute is expensive, but that’s only if I go uphill. For downhill, it’s £10 for ten minutes.”
He said he arrived in Britain a week ago on a tourist visa and claimed to be a “rising star” in Russian opera.
He said: “I don’t come cheap. I work my legs hard, I look good and I play good music – you have to pay a lot if you want that kind of luxury.
“Everyone is saying that black cabs are cheaper. Of course they are – it’s just one guy and the engine does everything. The fact is everything is expensive in London. I am not the bad guy, I just do my job like everyone else.”
Dzjabovic claimed he accepted just £40 from his passengers for the fare after he was challenged by an eyewitness, a taxi driver and two police officers.
One officer accused him of exploiting the tourists, who appeared to be two women and two children.
In the clip, the officer says: “They’re foreign tourists, you’re ripping them off. You’re blatantly ripping them off because you know one minute in here is not worth £10.
Dzjabovic says he works for Glow Taxis, but the firm insists he hired a rickshaw from them on a semi-independent basis, and that it doesn’t endorse £10-a-minute fares.