Anyone seen these beauties rolling about the streets of NYC lately? No? Well, only six of them are rolling around town as part of city’s electric vehicle pilot program. They get the full branding and promotional treatment from the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission in partnership with the licensed operator.
Of course, the notion that these things are “zero emission” is a stretch to write the least (the off-gassing of the plastic interior alone nips that one in the bud). They’re simply more clever at passing the polluting buck – and a bigger buck at that – to regions outside NYC. Sensible folk understand that “electric” vehicles are more inefficient and ineffective in the final analysis – to write nothing of the petrol-infused infrastructure on which they all ride.
What of the other more authentic “zero emission” passenger transport options in town: pedicabs and horse carriages? The city is well past the “pilot” stage with “zero emission” pedicabs, for instance. Well, the city has chosen to shunt them off into the regulatory black hole known otherwise as the Department of Consumer Affairs. Foci of late include barring nail salons from charging men and women different prices for different services.
Instead of amassing all passenger transport services under one ground transportation services department, NYC maintains a rich 20th century regulatory structure for passenger transport services that focuses exclusively on motor taxis, black motor car livery vehicles, and limousines.
Growing and “capped” passenger transport modes, including motorized “tour” buses, pedicabs, and horse carriages, have been shunted by the city council into the regulatory catch-all DCA. Will we see them partnering with the pedicab industry to brand its 700-800 cabs “zero emission”? Not in my lifetime. Stakeholders in the pedicab nyc industry would settle for regular, or even irregular, enforcement of customer protection provisions of pedicab laws. As it is, legitimate pedicab practitioners in NYC today disappear in a sea of pedicab scammers, authorized and legitimized by the city to troll the town for trusting tourists to pilfer and pillory.
Zero emissions brought to us by TLC. Zero enforcement brought to us by DCA. Which is more pernicious? For responsible pedicab nyc practitioners, what does not kill us makes us stronger. Revolution Rickshaws ensures all of its pedicab practitioners post rate signs conspicuously. The city? Not so much. Always look for the distinctive taxi-yellow chassis and checkers and you’ll be in good hands!