NYC MAYOR HITS BRAKES ON PEDICAB RATES DECISION: NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg hit the brakes Wednesday on a proposal to keep tourist-toting pedicabs from charging confusing, sometimes exorbitant rates.
The plan — the latest in a series of attempts to regulate the tricycle taxis in recent years — was up for Bloomberg to consider signing Wednesday. But after a pedicab driver complained that the city was unfair to the pedal-powered cabs, Bloomberg said he wanted "to find out a little more" about the proposal.
"I've always thought, in this city, people want pedicabs, and there's been discrimination against pedicab drivers from day one," said the mayor, who has previously praised pedicabs as environmentally friendly transportation and tourist attraction rolled into one.
"That's not to say there shouldn't be adequate protections against people gouging," Bloomberg added. He said he'd announce by Friday whether he'll sign the measure.
About 700 pedicabs now ply city streets, according to the New York City Pedicab Owners' Association. The vehicles, resembling giant tricycles with three-passenger carriages in the back, mainly jaunt around Central Park and other midtown Manhattan landmarks.
Now, most pedicab drivers charge by city block and per passenger. Some add surcharges and fees, and riders can find themselves facing unexpectedly steep bills at the end. In one notorious example, a Texas family this summer paid $442 for a 14-block ride.
INDY TO REPLACE ENTIRE FLEET WITH ELECTRIC, HYBRID: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis is aiming to become the first major U.S. city to replace its entire fleet with environmentally friendly vehicles, in a move the mayor said is aimed at reducing the nation's reliance on foreign oil.
Mayor Greg Ballard signed an executive order Wednesday requiring the city to replace its nearly 500 non-police sedans with electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. The city also will work with the private sector to phase in snow plows, fire trucks and other heavy vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, and will ask automakers to develop a plug-in hybrid police car.
New vehicles would be purchased as older ones are retired, and the city hopes to completely swap out its current 3,100-vehicle fleet by 2025.
AMERICAN AIRLINES ROLLS OUT NEW FARE STRUCTURE: DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is changing the way it charges you to fly.
American will charge $68 or $88 more per round trip for economy-class passengers who want a ticket that lets them check baggage or change the reservation later without getting hit by another fee.
The airline says it's responding to customer complaints about fees, especially the charge — typically $150 — for changing a reservation.
"This will eliminate the fear about what-ifs," said Rick Elieson, American's managing director of digital marketing.
American will still sell a basic fare without protection against add-on fees "for the less-discriminating passenger who is just looking for the cheapest way to get to where they've got to go," Elieson said