King’s Speech: Regulation of pedicabs announced
Tuesday 7 November: King Charles III delivered his first King’s Speech earlier today as part of the State Opening of Parliament. The speech set out the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming year in what will almost certainly be the last Parliamentary session before the next general election. The King assured Parliamentarians and the public that Rishi Sunak’s Government will take the ‘difficult but necessary’ decisions to change Britain for the better.
There are several pieces of legislation that will affect the Heart of London and members, including:
- Pedicabs (London) Bill – to regulate the use of pedicabs
- Media Bill – That will support creative industries and their growth
- Criminal Justice Bill – That will give the police more powers to deal with crime, including theft.
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said:
“The King’s Speech outlined numerous bills that will support the Heart of London area from being tougher on crime, to supporting our growing creative industries and crucially to tackle the scourge of pedicabs.”
“Over recent years we have campaigned tirelessly for the regulation of pedicabs. We are delighted that today the King has confirmed legislation will be introduced in this session. The Government must ensure that this doesn’t get kicked into the long grass.”
The full list of bills, and further detail about the Pedicabs (London) Bill, is below.
Whilst the Government can also introduce other legislation not included in today’s King’s Speech – and indeed are not obliged to enact all the laws mentioned here – this list of twenty-one new pieces of legislation can be viewed as an indication of which areas and objectives Number 10 and the Government will prioritise. Ahead of today’s speech, Number 10 claimed its three priorities for the coming legislative session concern “future prosperity of the United Kingdom”, “seizing economic opportunities” and “delivering a brighter future”.
Pedicabs (London) Bill
Recent estimates suggest there are up to 900 pedicabs carrying passengers around London, the only form of unregulated transport in the capital. With limited requirements on their operations, they continue to present significant safety and traffic-related issues.
Addressing longstanding concerns about pedicab operations, will pave the way for a sustainable pedicab industry that is safer for passengers, pedestrians, and other road users in London, and making it fairer for passengers and taxpayers by enabling Transport for London (TfL) to introduce fare controls.
The Pedicabs (London) Bill will enable TfL to regulate London’s pedicabs and protect passengers by:
- Conferring powers on TfL to bring forward a licensing regime for pedicabs, in a similar way to local authorities throughout the rest of England and Wales.
- Providing TfL with the ability to introduce fare control to combat overcharging on pedicab services and protect consumers from being ripped off.
- Allowing TfL to set standards for operators, drivers, and their vehicles to improve the safety of pedicabs, as well as introducing insurance requirements and ensuring vehicles are road worthy.
- Ensuring that pedicab drivers undergo criminal record and right to work checks before being allowed to carry passengers in the same way that drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles must do, allowing passengers to use pedicabs with confidence and cutting crime.
- Giving TfL powers to take steps to improve congestion and tackle issues such as highways obstruction. TfL will be able to restrict the presence of pedicabs in certain areas, at certain times. This will help improve road safety and traffic-related issues in central London.
- Enabling enforcement action against those operating without a licence or outside their licence conditions, including civil sanctions and criminal offences.
- The Bill will extend to England and Wales, but the measures will apply only in Greater London.
Reacting to the Pedicabs (London) Bill, Ros Morgan said:
“The announcement that pedicabs will be regulated is not before time. They’re a menace to London. We have no idea if the drivers or vehicles are safe to take people, putting users, pedestrians and road users at risk. The council’s slogan this time last year said it best: ‘be careful what you get into’.
“They disturb people with incessant music, block pavements, and the operators often charge hundreds of pounds for short journeys.”
“We look forward to working with TfL, who will enforce the regulations, to ensure that the scheme works for London.”
The full Number 10 briefing can be found here, and a full list of bills proposed in today’s King’s Speech can be found below.
The twenty-one bills proposed in today’s Kings Speech are as follows:
- Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
- Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill
- Automated Vehicles Bill
- Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
- Data Protection and Digital Information Bill
- Media Bill
- Arbitration Bill
- Draft Rail Reform Bill
- Tobacco and Vapes Bill
- Leasehold and Freehold Bill
- Renters Reform Bill
- Football Governance Bill
- Pedicabs (London) Bill
- Holocaust Memorial Bill
- Economic Activities of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill
- Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill
- Sentencing Bill
- Criminal Justice Bill
- Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill
- Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill
- Victims and Prisoners Bill