The Austin City Council passed two ordinances relating to pedicabs in Downtown Austin, including updating the rules and regulations and establishing staging areas to pick up passengers.
Councilman Chris Riley, a sponsor of the ordinance, said the rules regarding pedicabs have not been updated in the last 20 years and this would call for a fresh look at regulations to ensure safety and convenience.
A specific aspect includes review of the permit process. The ordinance calls for a six-month moratorium on permits issued while the city reviews and considers pedicab rule updates.
According to City Transportation Director Robert Spillar, there are currently 341 pedicab permits registered, and 60 more were requested recently. Austin currently has no cap on the number of permits issued, unlike taxi permits.
Fare structures are also addressed, including requiring pedicab drivers to post their pay rate within the cab. Currently, pedicabs can determine their own forms of payment. Councilwoman Kathie Tovo suggested a further look at a more universal rate structure for passenger convenience.
Safety concerns will also be reviewed as several council members cited concerns of pedicab and pedestrian accidents.
Riley said there would ongoing discussions on how best to regulate pedicabs during the six month review.
The second ordinance calls for designating areas downtown where pedicabs will be allowed to stage for rides, mainly in the areas of East Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Streets. The first seven staging areas will be set up April 22.