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Pedicab drivers fined after complaints of blasting Disney song at high volume

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Pedicab drivers fined after complaints of blasting Disney song at high volume

T

hree West End pedicab drivers have been fined for playing music too loudly at night after enforcement officers report hearing Disney hit Let It Go blasting from speakers.

The crackdown from Westminster Council comes after enforcement officers reported hearing popular tracks blasting after 9pm, including Whitney Houston’s classic I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Bob Marley’s Jamming.

A total of £3,564 fines, costs, and victim surcharges were handed down to three drivers at City of London Magistrates Court on November 16.

The drivers were charged under the Control of Pollution Act for playing music too loudly after 9pm – currently the only prosecution Westminster Council can impose on drivers.

Councillor Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Protection said: “Last week’s result shows our determination to tackle this nuisance on our streets. I urge visitors to Westminster to use safer forms of public transport when doing their Christmas shopping or attending festive parties. Get the bus, tube, or a black cab, and get home safely.”

One driver was issued with a £400 fine, a victim surcharge of £160 and costs of £600, totalling £1,160. They did not attend court and a written plea was received.

A second driver also did no attend court and faced fines totalling £920. A third driver attended court without representation and challenged costs previously issued.

They were ordered to pay a total of £1000, reduced from £1535.

This latest round of prosecutions comes as Westminster Council prepares for large crowds at popular locations such as Oxford Street, Winter Wonderland and Soho in the build up to Christmas.

It has been warning tourists of the dangers of pedicabs and encouraging them to take alternative and licensed modes of transport such as buses, Tubes and black cabs.

Posters have been circulated to more than 300 businesses and taxi drivers, and several thousand flyers have been handed out by Metropolitan Police officers in hotspot areas to curb pedicab operators.

The local authority hopes expensive fines will deter nuisance pedicabs from “ripping off unsuspecting tourists and disturbing residents”.

Councillor Less said: “Westminster is a popular destination for visitors at this time of year as we look forward to Christmas, and we don’t want unsuspecting tourists to be preyed upon by pedicab drivers who charge extortionate fares.”

It comes after Heart of London Business Chief Executive Ros Morgan labelled pedicabs “a real nuisance” for local businesses.

“Part of the problem is that the laws governing pedicabs are comparatively ancient. They haven’t been updated since 1869 because the rickshaws are treated legally as ‘stage carriages’,” he wrote in the Standard.

“The Met and Westminster council have struggled to stop pedicab drivers from charging huge fares and driving dangerously because the vehicles are not regulated. Since November 2021, £17,375 worth of fines have been issued, but this has done little to deter them.”

The council is now working with the Department for Transport and TfL to draw up new rules on pedicabs, scheduled to be part of an upcoming Transport Bill.

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