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Council puts brakes on rickshaw taxi

03/08/2013

By Kevin Shoesmithimage

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HULL’S first rickshaw operator says the brakes have been put on his fledgling business venture while he awaits a beefed-up cycling proficiency test.

Former white van man Neil Worner intends to use pedal power to take fares anywhere in the city centre for a £3 flat fee.

But first Neil needs to pass his Level 3 Cycle Proficiency Test and while he waits for the next available slot he is not making money.

It is made worse by recent sunny weather, which Neil believes is likely to drive trade.

He said: "I’m itching to get going and start making money. I’ve been in the city centre and people are asking if I can take them somewhere, but I’ve had to explain I can’t.

"I know the council have to cover themselves and boxes have to be ticked.

"The council have been pretty supportive, but the delay is frustrating.

"I’ve been cycling around the city centre and people are asking if I can take them somewhere, but I’ve had to explain I can’t.

In order to begin charging, Neil needs to fix a Hackney Carriage taxi plate to his £4,000 rickshaw, but he is required to show a cycling proficiency certificate to gain one.

Neil, 50, who bought the rickshaw three weeks ago, is due to take the test on August 6.

Earlier this year, he paid £66 to take a Hackney Carriage test in his car to satisfy council requirements, before shelling out £123.50 for the licence.

"I’ve been told it will be the same examiner for the rickshaw test as the vehicle test," said Neil. "I’m just hoping it’s nice and quick.

"I can only go for 20 minutes at a time, then I need a little rest."

Eventually, Neil, who has called his business Hull Rickshaws, hopes to make 20 trips a day.

"The interest is definitely there," he said.

Initially, he will work from 10am to 4pm, but he may consider working later to cash in on Hull’s nighttime economy.

He told the Mail previously: "Ladies wearing stilettos might appreciate the rickshaw.

"Drinkers might like to be taken from one pub to another."

A Hull City Council spokesman said the local authority is supportive of Neil’s venture, but did not wish to comment further.

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