Santa Monica Lookout
|Pedicabs Thriving in Santa Monica|
By Jason Islas
January 27, 2014 -- Six months after the City Council voted to allow regulated pedicabs in Santa Monica, business is booming, City officials said.
Since the Council officially adopted an ordinance last April that allows pedicabs to operate in the bayside city under certain restrictions, seven different companies have pulled permits to do business.
But with the influx of about 40 pedicab vehicles in and around Downtown Santa Monica, staff said there have been some issues.
“In Santa Monica, as in other cities, customers have been using pedicab services primarily as a form of entertainment, rather than as a bona fide mode of transportation to travel to a destination,” staff said in a report Thursday.
“This has made them popular in already congested areas, such as the entrance to the Pier, the 3rd Street Promenade, and Main Street, particularly during the evening hours,” they said.
City officials said that they have also received complaints that drivers were walking their pedicabs on the Promenade while soliciting customers and others have been “seen parking in taxicab stands, red zones, and other areas that are not allowed,” staff said.
Part of the problem is that there is no where for the pedicabs to wait for fares and, staff said, “there are currently no plans to add any parking areas for pedicabs.”
City officials said that while pedicab drivers are required to display the Code Compliance Division’s contact information, the City has yet to receive any customer complaints.
And, random safety inspections of pedicabs by City officials have revealed no violations.
The increased pedicab activity has also been a small boon to City coffers. Originally, the City estimated pedicab operators would pay about $3,000 in permit fees and business license taxes.
But with interest higher than anticipated, the City generated about $14,400.
City officials said that they will continue working with the pedicab operators to make sure they are obeying all of the rules.
By this summer, City officials will know more about the future of pedicabs in the bayside city.
“The FY 2014-15 renewal period, which will take place around June of 2014, should provide important information on whether pedicab operators are able to generate enough revenue to create a viable business and project growth of the industry in Santa Monica,” staff said.
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