City of Charleston reports uptick in complaints about pedicabs

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 4:20 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 11:30 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston says the number of complaints about pedicab drivers failing to obey city rules is increasing.

Livability and Tourism Director Dan Riccio says they’ve received 15 complaints from citizens over the past three weeks about pedicabs giving tours, ignoring stop signs and stop lights, and going the wrong way on one-way streets.

The city has an ordinance in place that prohibits pedicabs from conducting tours or sightseeing within the old and historic district. Riccio says the ordinance is in place for safety reasons.

“The issue with the tours and with the pedicabs has traditionally been as a result of wanting a better tip,” Riccio said. “But I think the safety of the pedestrians on the street and or other drivers and the patrons on the rickshaw is of the upmost importance.”

Luke Galt works as a driver for Charleston Bike Taxi. He says he’s lived in the Lowcountry for years, and people often ask them for recommendations while they’re transporting them. He says it’s sometimes hard to tell what counts as a tour for the city ordinance.

“I think it’s kinda hard to decipher what’s the difference because most times we kinda just point out stuff we’ve learned about the city just from living here, and then just give recommendations,” Galt said. “We’re not doing like a special history tour or anything.”

Galt said safety is always a priority for drivers.

“Safety for our customers is our number one priority so we’re following all the posted signs, making sure we’re doing all the hand signals that we need to do on the road to be safe,” Galt said.

Jaime Emerine also works with his son at Charleston Bike Taxi.

“That’s our number one goal,” Emerine said. “To be safe, reliable, and on time.”

Riccio says they’ve warned the three pedicab companies in town that they will be watching, and if they see an infraction, they’ll have to take action. Tourism officers can issue citations. Those fines can go up to a maximum of $1,087, which is up to the discretion of a judge.

“They need to keep their eyes on the road, they need to obey all traffic control devices and signs, and they need to do the right thing,” Riccio said.

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