They might as well have taken a helicopter!
A pedicab driver is allegedly tricking tourists into paying over $400 for 10-minute rides, courtesy of hidden charges and an onerous pricing system he springs on them at the end of the trip.
Savas Avci – who is licensed by the city’s department of Consumer Affairs – allegedly lured a Texas family of four into his pedicab last Tuesday by promising a $1-a-block ride from 42nd and Seventh to 55th near Sixth.
That roughly 12-minute ride turned into a nightmare when he slapped Brenda Rodriguez and her husband with a $442.54 bill at the end of the trip.
By comparison, a 12-minute chopper ride costs as little as $150 per person.
“It was crazy,” said Rodriguez.
Incredibly, what Avci did is not illegal.
But Rodriguez said he neglected to tell her he charges a minimum of $100 per person, which was printed in tiny type on the rate card.
After charging $406 – plus $36.54 in taxes, according to the receipt she provided The Post – the driver then had the nerve to demand a tip.
“I said, ‘Sir, are you kidding me?’ ” said Rodriguez.
She gave him a big zero.
Avci apparently eased the $100-per-person minimum when picking up Maryland doctor Young Song and his wife and two kids, charging them $316 for four people to ride from Times Square to 30th Street and Fifth Avenue.
He added $28.52 in taxes and a fat $86.35 tip, according to the $431.77 receipt Young showed The Post.
“I was angry,” said Young.
Avci then claimed that the gratuity was not included, despite his already adding it on, Young said. Unaware that he’d already tipped him, Young gave him $30 in cash, he said.
City law allows licensed pedicab drivers to charge what they want, provided they post the price on a rate card in the cab.
Greedy drivers exploit that rule by pointing to the rate card when customers ask the price.
Those signs typically indicate that the charges are per person only in small lettering at the bottom.
“It’s a scam of the details,” said Laramie Flick, president of the NYC Pedicab Owners Association. “The driver points to the sign, and it doesn’t look like much.”
Because of these tricks, Flick wants the city to amend the law so that all would-be riders are given the entire price, verbally or in writing, before the trip.
Avci, who did not respond to e-mails for comment, has traffic violations but no complaints with Consumer Affairs.
He could be in trouble, however, for taking four people in his cab. Only three are allowed.