Placing a value on taking a pedicab

This is going to be a long post with some philosophizing and storytelling, so my suggestion would be to read this with a beer if you have one. First, let me start by saying that using a pedicab service in the greater Phoenix area is actually fairly affordable. By contrast, in San Diego, CA, the commonly posted rates (posted as required by law) are $10-$25 per person, negotiable. The majority of cities in Arizona have no regulations on pedicabs. This means pedicabs operate on a tips only policy. You, as the passenger, decide what the service is worth by placing a monetary value on the service. By choosing a pedicab you support people powered earth friendly transportation and eliminate the inconveniences of a taxicab (funky smells, published rates, tipping, etc etc etc). Also, please remember you can enjoy the weather & scenery much more from a pedicab than a taxicab. Pedicabs really are a unique and premium service with both a transportation and entertainment value.

“Tip” as a method to describe the value of a service is flawed when applying the commonly accepted tip policy (20%) to pedicabs. Pedicabs have no rates, so what do you pay a pedicabber? First I prefer to use the word “value” rather than “tip”. Tip in my brain means $1 on a $4 beer and in general has the negative connotation of a “small sum” in most cases. I’m going to throw out a bunch of different scenarios but here’s the one I will start with: Think of the pedicab driver as your friend. You, being one person in the pedicab unwilling to walk to your destination, should think, “Hey, I’m going to buy this pedicabber a beer.”. Pedicabbers generally like good beer. One good beer will cost $5. Bam! $5 minimum for one person unwilling to walk to their destination. I will get into more than one person here shortly but please remember, $5 minimum. Pedicabbers don’t like $1 bills in general or multiples of $1 bills that add up to less than $5. Here are some more things to consider & other scenarios.

  • A reasonable distance, which I will refer to later, is generally 1/2 mile. If you’re going one mile or greater, consider the fact that a taxicab for one mile will automatically cost you more than $10 after tip. Granted a taxicab doesn’t care about # of passengers (weight) but pedicabbers do.
  • If you regularly roll around with a wad of $20’s in your pocket, just flip a $20 whether it’s one, two, three or even four people within a reasonable distance. You can afford $20 and it will make your pedicabber’s day.
  • Two people should always consider $10 as “good” within a reasonable distance ($5 each, or again, one beer per person). Between $5 and $10 is ok too for shorter distances.
  • Please remember to factor in distance taken, terrain & even passenger weight in all scenarios.
  • Three people should consider $10 as a minimum (that’s only $3.33 a person) and $15 as more appropriate. Again, remember distance, terrain & weight and adjust upwards or downwards as necessary.
  • Four or more should consider $15-$20+.
  • If you’ve been drinking, how drunk are you? Could you even walk to your destination? Is your pedicabber taking you home instead of you driving and saving you a potential $5,000 DUI charge?
  • Did your pedicabber entertain you? Did you have fun on the ride? Did you get some play from your significant other or random stranger on the ride? Those are value added services!

Here’s a real life scenario on when to give your pedicabber a $50 bill.

You and your buddy roll out of X location, intoxicated, with 2 girls. You hop on a pedicab and you say “Take us to Y bar”. But you’re not really sure where Y is because you are intoxicated and quite frankly, don’t care. Your pedicabber takes you 1.5 miles as you say “I think it’s just a little further”, you soon realize Y is not this far, and say “oh, maybe we passed it”. Your pedicabber pulls out his phone, Google’s Y’s location, and realizes it was 0.5 miles behind you. He gets you, your buddy and the 2 girls to Y and you say to your buddy “I’m giving this guy a $50 and you’re buying my beer all night”. You’re happy cause you get “free” beer, you’re getting laid later (if you don’t screw it up), and your pedicabber is really happy too.

On flipping a $100 bill… another real life scenario that unfortunately wasn’t mine, but was witnessed by my business partner.

You’re drunk and you’ve been watching golf all day (in person, on a golf course) and drank the night away. You smoke fine cigars. You probably have quite a few $100’s in your billfold. You’re staying at a swanky resort. Your one friend is so drunk he has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what is going on and is practically falling off the pedicab on the ride back. Your pedicabber gets you, your buddy and your out-of-his-mind drunk friend safely to the resort about 3/4 mile away. You put a $100 in your pedicabbers hand and consider it well worth the $ cause to you a $100 is like a $20 to ordinary folks. Your pedicabber’s night just got a lot better.

When in doubt, ALWAYS tip more than you think appropriate if you can afford to do so.

See you on the back of a pedicab soon!