Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday made a last-minute decision to delay signing new legislation governing pedicabs after hearing complaints of discrimination toward drivers. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting the brakes on a City Council bill that takes aim at pedicab drivers.
"I am not going to sign the law today," Bloomberg said Wednesday. "I want to think about it a little bit.
He decided to pass on the legislation after hearing from the pedicab industry at a bill signing ceremony at City Hall. Three drivers spoke, but only one, Ibrahim Donmez, denounced the legislation.
"This bill is another part of the city's racism and ignorance against the pedicabs," Donmez said. "I am requesting you to veto this bill."
The bill was introduced to crack down on pedicab drivers who charge unsuspecting riders exorbitant rates and tack on confusing fees. One family was charged $442 for a short ride around Midtown.
Under the new legislation, drivers would have to charge by the minute, rather than by distance, and would be forbidden from charging for extra passengers.
The mayor was expected to sign the legislation.
"I've always thought in this city, people want pedicabs, and there's been discrimination against pedicab drivers since day one. I'm not sure why," Bloomberg said. "It's one of these things that some of the newspapers have riled against. The public wants them, and why shouldn't they have them?"
The bill's primary sponsor, City Councilman Daniel Garodnick, said pedicabs are not always popular in the areas where they operate. He said he is urging the mayor to sign the bill.
"I happen to represent some of those areas, and they present challenges for traffic and flow," Garodnick said. "And certainly, people who experience pedicabs in front of their buildings every day, they struggle."
The mayor does have a history of differing with the City Council when it comes to regulating the pedicab industry. In 2007, he vetoed a council bill to cap the number of pedicabs allowed to operate in the city. The council overrode the mayor.
The mayor said that just because he is taking more time to consider the bill does not mean he won't end up signing it. He said he will make up his mind by the end of the week.