Saturdays in the streets of midtown, unlike weekdays, are sooooo unpredictable – maddening to this olde timey practitioner; nevertheless, somehow someway they usually add up… And today was no exception – budget numbers were hit in a timely fashion.
Much ado about pricing: RR had a conversation with two gals – erstwhile New Yorkers – regarding the marketplace for rickshaw services. RR approached them after noticing them get out of a pedicab and engage the practitioner in a short conversation. Apparently, he told them to pay what they wish – and suggested $100. The ride was from 54th St & 5th Ave to 33rd & Broadway. One of the ladies gave him $15 – the same amount RR was given by a friendly lady from Northampton (UMass-employed grant writer) traveling solo from the Eventi at 30th & 6th to Molyvos, a Greek restaurant, at 55th & 7th Ave after suggesting $25 in the beginning but backtracking to “pay what you wish” in order to coax her on.
A bit later, RR had a conversation with a practitioner from one of the former Soviet republics. RR was taking a picture of his rate card when he asked what was going on. RR mentioned its curiosity regarding all rates and rate cards. His card read $2/blk, $3/ave, $5/person. He noted that he priced low and that others now charge $4/blk, $5/ave, $10/person. Looking at my rate card, he said that RR basically “works for free”. RR mentions the fact that RR was born and raised here and that he was not. He proceeds to note that if he were born and raised in the states, he would not do this gig.
And so we get to the crux of the issue – people who simply don’t care for this amazing gig are systematically destroying it for local practitioners who love the gig – and the city of New York has their back every step of the way. These people leave a trail of destruction behind them with most every ride they execute – a growing army of embittered people who not only will never take a rickshaw ride again; embittered people who tell their friends to avoid rickshaws in NYC like the plague.
The irony? A councilman’s aide tells RR that the city won’t introduce “quote up front” full transparency legislation due to “discrimination” issues; to wit: a practitioner in theory could charge a higher price to, say, an African-American simply because of the color of his skin. Because of this “risk”, the entire industry instead is systematically compromised every day by an army of people who hate pedicabs yet ride them to extort their customers for all they’re worth – and then some…