Tourist charged £450 by London pedicab driver

A Belgian tourist has complained after being charged £450 for a seven minute pedicab ride through central London.

April Argenau was charged a hefty fee for a short 2km ride from Oxford Street to the Royal Lancaster hotel.

The tourist was with her two children and said she was “shocked” that the driver got away with it.

She told BBC News: “I felt so threatened, and my kids felt scared. The ride took seven minutes and then we arrived at the hotel, where he got out some device and pressed a button.”

April said the price originally showed as £330 and then after the button was pressed, it soared to £464.

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She said the driver refused to back down and became intimidating, demanding payment from her.

April said the driver disappeared quickly after she’d paid and cycled away avoiding the hotel’s CCTV cameras.

Pedicabs have become a common sight in central London and are often decorated with neon lights or blast loud music as they travel.

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Despite numerous reports of overcharging, laws covering pedicabs haven’t been updated since 1869.

The vehicles are treated as stage carriages which means anyone can buy one and start charging fees.

Steve Mcnarama, chair of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, told the BBC: “It’s a national disgrace. Tourists being ripped off is an ongoing problem.”

Last year a tourist was charged £180 for a three minute journey, even though a fee of £18 had been agreed.

The Met Police said it received regular complaints about the behaviour of some of London’s pedicab drivers.

It urged tourists to “check carefully” and use another method to get to their destination if in doubt.

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