Charleston Approves Increase in Rickshaw Use

April 5, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveMarc Knapp
Citizen Reporter

Nobody seemed to be against approving more licenses to operate rickshaws (pedicabs) on the Charleston peninsula during the day and night during the March 22 meeting Charleston City Council meeting.

But some were opposed to boosting these numbers by 10 during “special events.”

Present regulations permit a maximum of 15 rickshaws to operate on the peninsula at any time – day and night.

Because of the high usage, the new regulations will permit 15 rickshaws to operate at any time of the day, and another 15 rickshaws to operate at night only – from 6.30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Friday, and 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

An operating decal will now be issued on a competitive bidding process, with the first decal going to the highest bidder, the second to the second-highest bidder, and so forth until all decals have been distributed.

The decals will be good for five years.

No owner of a rickshaw company can be the recipient of more than 49 percent of either the general operating decals or the nighttime decals.

Council member were divided equally over the extra 10 slots for special events.

But, as council member William Dudley Gregorie pointed out, it was a moot issue. The rickshaw owners said that it was unlikely they would take advantage of the provision.

Presumably it would not be worth while to buy extra rickshaws which would remain unused for most of the year and on which fees would need to be paid. However, the provision of another 10 rickshaws remained in the amended ordinance.

Marc Knapp is a contractor specializing in heavy underground utilities and the owner of Charleston Site Utilities.