Victoria pedicab licences awarded in lotto, but not everybody is happy

All 18 available tags were snatched up in Victoria’s first ever pedicab licence lottery — an event one participant called “amateur hour” but which the city called “transparent.”

There were 118 entries for 18 licences.

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Council decided to hold a lottery after being lobbied to allow more competition in the pedicab industry. The new licences were made available through lottery in two blocks of six and as six individual licences. The maximum any one person was allowed to win was 15.

All 28 existing licences are either owned or managed by Andrew Capeau, Victoria Pedicab Company president and owner. Victoria Pedicab has eight licences and manages the remaining 20 through Pacific Pedicabs (five licences) and Kabuki Kabs (Victoria) Ltd. (15 licences).

But at least one of the unsuccessful applicant said he still might push council to take the cap off the total number of pedicabs allowed on the street.

“We still want to fight for the open market,” said Steve Craik, of Trikes Tours, who had lobbied the city for more licences but did not score through the draw.

“We still feel that is the only real fair, true way that this should be done within Canada. It’s a capitalist country."

Craik said someone probably needs eight licences to run a viable business.

He said instead of total numbers, the city should focus on developing criteria that show people applying for licences are qualified and not worry about saturating the market — an issue that will look after itself.

“They should let you go out and buy $5,000 bikes and try to get them on the road and try to run a business. If you’re successful, great. If you’re not, that’s called capitalism.”

He was uncertain as to his next move but expects he will be back before council lobbying for more change.

“Our journey is not fully over, but it’s definitely taken a big fork in the road,” Craik said.

City spokeswoman Michelle Harris said the city considers the lottery a success. “It was a transparent process and the city received positive feedback on it being well organized,” she said.

Six licences were awarded to each of Vikas Giri and Jim Espinoza. Sati Moosman, Chris Lloyd, Michael Zatorsk, Brian Loos, Jared James Spencer and Jacqueline Snelling were awarded one licence each.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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