London: Rickshaw drivers face £5,000 fine

A woman in a pedicab smiles as she is wheeled through streets packed with revelers outside bars in London's Soho July 4, 2020, after restrictions were further eased to allow pubs and restaurants to open during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic . - Pubs in England reopen on Saturday for the first time since late March, bringing cheer to drinkers and the industry but fears of public disorder and new coronavirus cases. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

They were labeled “unlicensed harassment” (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

‘Hauling’ pedicab drivers in central London have been hit with record fines in a council crackdown.

Five people have been charged at the City of London Magistrates Court for a total of £5,682 after reports of operators “regularly blocking pavements, playing loud music and charging extortionate fares”.

A driver fined £1,018 for playing music that caused trouble is the same one who charged two people a staggering £180 for a three-minute journey in February 2022 – ten times more than agreed.

Meanwhile, another who repeatedly excessively played music from a speaker was given an example of being told to pay twice as much as others.

The group was ordered to pay between £684 and £2,019 each in fines, costs and victim surcharges.

It is the largest fine to date following enforcement action by Westminster City Council in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

Hundreds of drivers have reportedly sparked serious accessibility problems in areas including Covent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square and Mayfair.

Councilor Aicha Less blew up the cycle rickshaws as an “unlicensed nuisance”.

“We want visitors to the West End to have fun and be safe,” she said.

“The council will continue to work with the police to take action against anti-social cyclists.”

According to the council, more than 50 drivers were reported to law enforcement last year.

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Justin Scacco

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