San Francisco News

Pedicab operators feud over permits, licenses

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Embarcadero is saturated with pedicabs towing tourists along the waterfront. Now, a war is brewing between the licensed pedicab companies and a new company that's accused of operating illegally.

Established pedicar operators are angry because, in order for them to carry people in their pedicabs, they are required to pay more than $300 in licensing fees.

Those established operators charge West Coast Pedicab, which just started operating last week and has unlicensed drivers, with endangering the business and the welfare of tourists.

Three companies operate on the Embarcadero: San Francisco Pedicab, Cabrio and Golden Gate Pedicab. Manager Paulo Serna says there are specific rules for operation, including licensing the cabs, licensing the operators and getting a permit. More importantly, there are specific fares they're allowed to charge by the city.

"They charge $100 for a couple to go 1.3 miles, which we can legally can charge $20 to $25 for," Serna said.

The allegations and accusations have been leveled against West Coast Pedicab since they showed up on the wharf last month. West Coast owner Eric Wesselink says it's all sour grapes.

"They don't want anyone else coming onto their territory," Wesselink said. "It's less money for them, but I have applied for the permits, I've carried the proper insurance. I've done everything I needed to do."

Wesselink also said his drivers, many of whom are foerign exchange students from Turkey, have paid their dues and have their licenses. Wesselink says they're only here for two months, but have done all they should to earn money legally so they can continue their studies back home.

Wesselink also refutes claims that his drivers ever charged anyone $100 for a ride. The pedicab business owner furnished ABC7 with some threatening emails that he says he was getting from one of the pedicab companies.

Wesselink is scheduled to attend another permit meeting on Tuesday and hopes he can end the escalating pedicab war wtihout any casualties on either side.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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embarcadero, traffic, san francisco news
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