Council Gives Backing for Rickshaws on Hammersmith Bridge

Licensed pedicabs could ferry passengers across the river

A previously proposed pedicab service for the bridge. Picture: City Shuttle

December 18, 2023

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has welcomed a proposal to use pedicabs to ferry people across Hammersmith Bridge. The borough has confirmed it supported e-mobility solutions for transporting passengers, subject to the weight and loading restrictions once stabilisation works have ended.

The bridge has been undergoing repair works since it closed motor traffic in 2019 because of concerns about cracking in the infrastructure, according to Transport for London. Currently, only cycling and walking across the bridge are still permitted.

Now Richmond MP Sarah Olney wants authorities to consider running a pilot scheme allowing licensed rickshaws to ferry people across the bridge. In the Commons last month, Ms Olney said, “I believe that rickshaws could be a real game changer for those in my constituency and elsewhere, who cannot access active travel. This could be a particular benefit as an interim transport solution across Hammersmith Bridge, which has been closed to motor traffic for almost five years.”

Her proposal appeared to get the support of Baroness Stowell in the House of Lords on Monday (11 December). The Tory peer said, “I will make a special plea. The problems associated with the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, which have gone on for years, are very serious for local residents. Let us turn a negative into a positive: pedicabs offer an opportunity for local residents to hire one to cross the bridge, which would be really useful.

“The local MP, Sarah Olney, has been running a campaign to encourage the Department for Transport to consider this and to designate cab ranks on either side of the bridge to enable that to happen. My simple request is for the minister to agree to meet me and the local MP to discuss this issue and its appropriateness.”

It comes as MPs debate giving Transport for London powers to regulate and licence pedicabs in the capital. A legal loophole has allowed the form of transport to operate unlicensed in London for decades, resulting in some customers being charged hundreds of pounds for a short journey.

The BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) went undercover in November and found some riders were charging £50 for a 10-minute ride. An American tourist also reported being charged over £200 for a 5-minute trip.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council, as the owner of Hammersmith Bridge, is ultimately responsible for any decisions regarding its use and maintenance.

Adrian Zorzut - Local Democracy Reporter