Rickshaws to take their final ride in the summer
By Kernan Andrews
By the middle of summer, rickshaws will no longer operate in Galway city as the current licences will be allowed expire but not be renewed.
The decision to end the popular/controversial service was made at Monday’s city council meeting, where councillors argued that the rickshaws and attempts to create bylaws for them in Galway were a “failed experiment”.
Rickshaws have been a prominent part of Galway nightlife for the last number of years but have attracted a fair degree of controversy. Ahead of the discussion on Non-Motorised Transport Bylaws, submissions to City Hall - by the Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway Business Watch, and the community wardens - alleged rickshaws were being driven at “high speed”; were a potential traffic hazard; that there was a high number of illegal operators; and that registration numbers were not clearly visible.
There were also a belief that the gardaí had never fully enforced the bylaws. Only one submission was made in favour of retaining them, but the submitter also called for illegal operators to be fined.
Fianna Fáil councillor Michael J Crowe, proposed that as rickshaw licences cannot be revoked, they must be allowed to expire and once this happens, that they not be renewed. This was agreed by the other councillors.
It is expected that the first licence expirations will take place in April, with the next in May, while the final set of licences will expire in June.
Despite seconding Cllr Crowe’s motion, Labour’s Cllr Billy Cameron nonetheless had some sympathy for rickshaw operators.
“The legal operators are coming out worst from this,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “They were doing everything right but the illegal operators detracted from the service and swamped the market.”