UK pedicab driver adopts tuk tuk tactics, forced to return lassies’ swindled quid

A pedicab driver rolls a cigarette as he waits for passengers on Oxford Street in London. Credit: Kamyar Adl | Flickr

A pedicab driver in London who swindled two female passengers out of 180 pounds has been forced to return the money, after the Westminster City Council requested a crackdown on the city’s bicycle rickshaw “nuisance.”

The driver originally charged 18 pounds for a 3 minutes trip, but then increased the price by a factor of 10 at the last minute, adding a zero at the end, the women reported.

For expats in Thailand, it sounds like a page cut from the Thailand tuk tuk playbook.

Fortunately, local police tracked down the driver and made him return the ill-gotten cash during a weekend crackdown that lasted from the Saturday evening into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Heather Acton, a communities and regeneration cabinet member, said it was time for the government to take action and ensure pedicab drivers would take safety checks and pay road tax in the West End, which is beginning to recover from a year and a half of pandemic related disruptions and restrictions.

“Pedicab operators are an unlicensed nuisance that have plagued the West End for years, preying on tourists and annoying local residents.

“There is little regulation around them and they are uninsured — there are serious safety concerns around them.”

The crackdown took place in China Town, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Leicester Center, Mayfair and Soho the BBC reported.

Police moved some 70 pedicabs — or bicycle rickshaws — found blocking pavements, while nine others were reported for blasting loud music from their speakers, deemed “likely to be an annoyance, under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

An additional four pedicab drivers played music softly, despite carrying big speakers, as they peddled gingerly along the lamplit streets of the West End.

The story sounds all too familiar to Bangkok locals and longtime expats in Thailand, who are accustomed to seeing colorful tuk tuks on the roadside, especially along popular walking streets and metro stations at night.

Tuk tuk drivers in the Big Mango are notorious for disobeying traffic rules and cheating tourists, either by charging exorbitant prices, or for tricking them into common scams.



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