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The city implemented an ordinance that requires pedicab operators to have a valid California driver’s license in order to obtain the proper operating permit on February 17, 2011. Officials from the transportation and police department yesterday reported to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee that the ordinance has yielded favorable results over the course of its first year.

Officer Scott Thompson reported that it is easier to conduct background checks on pedicab operators, who for their part also demonstrate better knowledge of the rules of the road, resulting in fewer citations. He also noted he has personally observed that previous problem operators are no longer on the streets.

The city has no cap on the number of pedicab operating permits it issues, but since the new ordinance went into effect, there has been a decrease. Between February 17, 2011, and February 16, 2012 there were 811 permits issued, compared to 867 during the previous year – a decline of 6.5%

The committee was pleased with the overall results, but did express some concerns. Councilmember Marti Emerald, committee chair, requested the city’s legal staff produce a report within the next 60 days, examining ways in which the city can support and enforce a new directive from the State Department that prohibits recipients of J1 Student Visas from being placed by their sponsors in professions such as pedi-cab drivers.

With summer approaching, Emerald expressed concerns that many foreign students would be lured to San Diego under false promises of pedi-cab jobs, but made it a point to note that it was not an anti-immigrant sentiment. Councilmember Alvarez also expressed concerns over what he sees as a potential saturation of pedicab operators in the border crossing regions, due primarily to delayed border crossing times.

photo source: everythingsandiego.net

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