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Sailor

Pedal Power Downtown

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Just reported on MLive:

http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/peda...keep_downt.html

First paragraph of story:

"GRAND RAPIDS -- When it comes to getting around downtown, a couple of entrepreneurs want you to forget about high-tech people movers, shuttle buses and taxicabs.

They are planning to launch a fleet of pedal-powered cabs -- or pedicabs -- next year."

[i hope this is the right place for this post; I wasn't sure if it should go here or in Transit Initiatives.]

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Unlike taxicabs, they won't be restricted in the fares they can charges, according to proposed rules the commission will consider next week.

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I didn't realize this is the second company to come forward with this idea. It would be cool to see these guys pedaling around. Amazingly, according to the article, hailing taxicabs downtown has an ordinance against it.

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Elite Pedicabs were out in force at lunch today (OK, maybe two guys). Looks pretty cool, although I didn't see any riders yet. I would think during big Devos Place events and in the evenings might provide a better market.

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Reposting from previous thread.

rickshaw1.jpg

rickshaw2.jpg

rickshaw3.jpg

rickshaw4.jpg

Someone sent me a link to a wild image of a bizarre pedicab overseas, created by a woman artist. (Hint: it should ply the streets of Gaslight Village.) If you want to see it, just PM Tony!

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There were three of us out between 11 and 1, not sure about after that due to my other job. Business is a little slow right now because people are so hesitant about trying new things. Add to that the fact that we as drivers are still learning by trial-and-error where to be and when. I originally thought being up and down Monroe Center, where most of the people are, would be my best bet for the lunch hours. However, I've had my best luck so far on Campau, of all places during lunch. Grand Rapids will definately work, it just needs a little time for people to get used to the idea.

Currently, Elite Pedi Cabs is the only company currently in operation in Grand Rapids and Lansing. There is one other company approved for Grand Rapids, but it employs only one driver and he apparently does not have a cab yet.

Saturday we'll be operating between 5ish and 2AM.

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I've been seeing that it is donation (tip) based. An "engine" who's a lot of fun and entertaining would earn more than one who provides just a ride.

And I still want to see one ride up the Michigan Street hill.

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I'll ride, you can watch. Will Tony be the engine?

:P

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I took one last night. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! a million times better than a regular cab.

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I tried to get one tonight - didn't have far to go, but wanted to show my support - but they were all busy! Two went by with passengers in the space of a block. Hope business stays that way!

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The fare is determined by the driver, who can factor in anything into the equation: terrain, slope, amount of people, distance, etc. As a general rule of thumb, $2-3 can usually cover most needs.

We don't go up Michigan Hill, BUT.. the slopes west of Division in Heartside are just as steep if not steeper, they're just short. I went up one of those with passengers today and decided after that, any trip up that slope would be a dollar more than I had previously charged.. it took me completely by surprise.

It is powered completely by pedaling with exception to the lights and signals, which are powered by a battery.

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...We don't go up Michigan Hill, BUT.. the slopes west of Division in Heartside are just as steep if not steeper, they're just short. I went up one of those with passengers today and decided after that, any trip up that slope would be a dollar more than I had previously charged.. it took me completely by surprise....

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The fare is determined by the driver, who can factor in anything into the equation: terrain, slope, amount of people, distance, etc. As a general rule of thumb, $2-3 can usually cover most needs.

We don't go up Michigan Hill, BUT.. the slopes west of Division in Heartside are just as steep if not steeper, they're just short. I went up one of those with passengers today and decided after that, any trip up that slope would be a dollar more than I had previously charged.. it took me completely by surprise.

It is powered completely by pedaling with exception to the lights and signals, which are powered by a battery.

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When I was pedaling up Michigan every day (living on Belknap), I'd just put my head down and watch the tire make slow steady progress. It's the most severe slope around (unless you take a freeway ramp by mistake).

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Rather than ride up Michigan I always take Fountain. It seems to be slightly less steep and I think it peaks a little lower as well. It probably doesn't make that much of a difference, but that's the way I go on days that I bike commute. It really isn't so bad once you do it a few times and get in shape, though I imagine it would really suck if you're pulling a couple people up with you.

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You have my deepest admiration - my sorry butt wouldn't make it two feet!

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I myself usually use crescent to get up the hill. It's very short, direct, and gets the job done quickly, with a very lovely park at the top to relax at. I'd say the only 2 problems with this route are currently the fact that all the VAI2 trailers are on one side and is still 2-way, so it's like using the 6th street bridge, and the fact that the brick is rather old and uneven.

The only incline I've yet to traverse without giving up is a little side street in Belknap paved in cobblestone.

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I myself usually use crescent to get up the hill. It's very short, direct, and gets the job done quickly, with a very lovely park at the top to relax at. I'd say the only 2 problems with this route are currently the fact that all the VAI2 trailers are on one side and is still 2-way, so it's like using the 6th street bridge, and the fact that the brick is rather old and uneven.

The only incline I've yet to traverse without giving up is a little side street in Belknap paved in cobblestone.

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Fountain is extremely steep, but since that's my route home from the eponymous church, that's what I use. (Slow down for a breather by Montague's house.) I would rather go up Michigan than down, with the odd turning movements and traffic lights.

If I were attempting to gain elevation with a pedicab full of dead weight, I would take the gradual slope of State and then continue east on Cherry. Kinda moot since the pedicabs are a DDA-district type of deal.

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If I were attempting to gain elevation with a pedicab full of dead weight, I would take the gradual slope of State and then continue east on Cherry. Kinda moot since the pedicabs are a DDA-district type of deal.

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The steepest hill I've recently discovered and climbed is the pedestrian tunnel under I196. Start at the bottom on John Ball Park Dr. just north of Lake Michigan Dr. Go up through the lit tunnel, emerge onto Sibley St west of I196, then turn right onto Scott and continue up to the top of the hill. It's about 850-900 ft of incline, but it's definitely a couple % steeper than the Fountain St. Hill.

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Fountain is extremely steep, but since that's my route home from the eponymous church, that's what I use. (Slow down for a breather by Montague's house.)

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While still a big fan of the pedal bikes for the downtown area, this is what I'd really like to see. On a recent trip to Thailand, these tuk-tuks (auto rickshaws) were the primary mode of transportation as it was able to keep up with traffic, and most instances got around stationary traffic. I attribute part of that to the driving ability of any culture outside of the US. But unlike pedal rickshaws, it never impeded the flow of traffic. I don't want call the pedal taxi's a novelty, but...

Not only would these work for downtown, but they could be economically used within a 5 mile radius of downtown. And fares were cheap, typically about $.80 cents to go 2 miles or more. The fares are negotiated ahead of time, unlike the standard taxi's there.

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