Fancy a rickshaw ride?

Come December and rickshaws will be a familiar sight in the city.

The City of Melbourne has granted a three-month trial permit to Green Monkey Pedicabs to operate 20 pedicabs in the city.

Despite safety concerns such as potential for traffic congestion on busy carriageways and safety of cyclists overtaking slower pedicabs in bicycle lanes, the council granted the seasonal permit.

It was satisfied that a selection of the criteria outlined in the Street Activity Policy like environmental sustainability, the offer of an alternative city transport mode and adding to the city’s vitality and attractiveness was addressed.

Under the plan, there would be nine pedicab ranks across the city, including Federation Square, Bourke St Mall, Queen Victoria Market, Southern Cross Station and Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

The council also noted that any subsequent applications (a second company Bike Cabs has also applied for permit) for pedicab operations would not be considered until the outcomes of the trial permit period are assessed.

Further, decision on the future operations will be decided after a report on the trial with recommendations is provided to the Future Melbourne Committee in April 2015.

Green Monkey is the brainchild of Epping-based Luqman Nazzal and husband and wife team Warren and Judy Gatt. Targetted at tourists and local alike, the fleet of 20 environmentally-friendly pedicabs will start operations from December 5.

“We are excited and confident that tourists and locals alike will embrace the service,” Mrs Gatt said.

“It’s not a taxi service, it’s a short-trip experience – a unique way for tourists to see the city and also a way for locals to get from A to B,” she said.

The trio started the company in November last year, and has tested its fleet of pedicabs on Moreland roads, including Sydney Rd in Brunswick.

Fares would start from $5 per person and cost another $1 per minute thereafter, with drivers taking credit cards as well as cash.

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