At a pedicab bill-signing, Bloomberg balks

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg put the brakes on a bill he was expected to sign into law today after pedicab drivers said the legislation was unfair.

The bill would have required pedicabs to disclose their fares before taking passengers for a ride,

"Certainly [I] appreciate the great working relationship we have together," the bill's sponsor, Councilman Dan Garodnick said after being introduced by Bloomberg at the start of the event.

But later in the bill signing ceremony, where the public is allowed to speak to any impending legislation, the mayor heard from several pedicab drivers who criticized the legislation.

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The first was a pedicab driver who said he was optimistic about the bill and wanted it reviewed after a year. The second speaker was a pedicab driver who said, "the whole mess of pedicab overcharging was created by the 2009 pedicab law legalizing a fare system adopted by a pedicab driver. Before 2009, we did not have this problem."

Rather than repealing that 2009 law, this driver said the Council passed "another non-sense system" because the current legislation "does not standardize the fares," and "you cannot standardize the fares with the pedicabs because they are human-powered."

After one more speaker, Bloomberg said, "If that's the case then I'm not going to sign the law today. I want to think about it a little bit."

Garodnick was standing behind the mayor, with the Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky. Bloomberg said he "has not been satisfied" with some of the problems raised by the public testimony.

After the aborted bill-signing ceremony, Garodnick said in a statement: "Requiring all pedicab drivers to use the same calculation method, and to post rate information in the same format and in the same location simplifies what has otherwise become an opportunity for predatory, deceptive practices."