£206 a mile: Shocking footage of moment rickshaw driver bills family hundreds for short trip through central London

Confrontation: The rickshaw driver is approached by first a passer-by and then a police officer (Picture: Richard Long)

Confrontation: The rickshaw driver is approached by first a passer-by and then a police officer (Picture: Richard Long)

The astonishing footage shows the rickshaw driver being challenged by passing police officers, who accuse him of “extorting” cash from the passengers.

But the man in charge of the vehicle, also known as a pedicab, insists the bill is backed up by his price list and refuses to back down in the row at the side of a busy road.

A young boy, who appears to be the son of the woman who handed over £100, repeatedly demands the cash back.

Seemingly unfazed, the rickshaw rider – who claims to be licensed and work for Glow Taxis – refuses to hand back the cash he is holding, but eventually asks the police officers how much he should charge.

The video does not capture the end of the dispute.

Richard Long, 49, who filmed the exchange, told the Standard the fee was “outrageous”.

“To be fleecing tourists like that – it’s just disgusting what they’re doing,” he said.

Mr Long, a licensed cabbie for 16 years, said he would have charged about £7 for the journey.

Rickshaw driver confronted by police officer

‘Extorting’: Police approach the rickshaw driver and tell him one minute in his pedicab is not worth £10 per person (Picture: Richard Long)

Taxi trade bodies claim rickshaws often charge per minute and per person, meaning the price can quickly run into the hundreds.

Mr Long added: “When I got out of the cab I could see he was trying to get more and more money.

“The woman wasn’t great with English. [Rickshaw drivers] know tourists don’t use cards and generally carry cash. Obviously they’ve spoken to each other and decided certain groups are an easy target.”

Marketing manager Cecile Nwanze, 33, a Parisian now living in West Dulwich, witnessed the altercation.

Rickshaw driver handed money by passengers

Cash: The video shows the rickshaw driver taking notes from the dismayed passengers and refusing to give them back when asked (Picture: Richard Long)

She told the Standard: “I was shocked. He looked like he really thought that seriously was worth the money he was charging. He didn’t even seem bothered about the police officer.

“He was just saying it was his price list. He was not sorry at all.

“Those people will probably share the experience with their family and friends when they go back home – it’s not a good image for London at all.”

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “Our members are constantly reporting that passengers, especially from the Middle East, complain to them about being ripped off by rickshaw riders, and being threatened when they challenge the extortionate prices.

“Fares of between £200 and £300 from Selfridges to Harrods are common and the current record stands at £820.”

Custom Ride, which manufactures Glow Taxis, disputed the driver worked for them.

Friedel Schroder, chairman of the London Pedicabs Operators Association, said: “Apart from not being a rider with an LPOA operator, what he is doing is actually illegal. Riders need to verbally pre-agree the price [before the ride].

“We do not condone this behaviour as acceptable.”

The Met Police have been approached for a comment.

Source: London Evening Standard

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