Why Drive or Walk with University Pedi-Cab at Your Service?
February 27, 2012
By Teya Vitu
Tony Rivera is bringing local pedi-cab service out of the dark.
A few bicycle-powered cab services pedal the late-night bar scene in the 4th Avenue/University Boulevard sector.
Rivera is building a day-time transport and delivery service with University Pedi-Cabs and Blue Sky Deliveries rolling throughout the Downtown-UA area.
He has three electrically assisted Pedillac tricycles with a canopy-covered, padded bench for passenger service, and three other trikes for lunch-time restaurant deliveries.
The pedi-cabs are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Rivera does acknowledge that much of the revenue still comes from giving rides from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“Especially at night, girls with big heels, they love seeing the pedi-cabs,” Rivera said.
You can hail a University Pedi-Cab if you see one pedaling by. You can call for service at 820-0370. FourSquare will tell you where the pedi-cabs are. On Twitter, you can hail service at @upedicabs, and University Pedi-cabs is enrolled in several other social media networks that you can find at www.universitypedicabs.com.
The pedi-cab is “tips-only.” The basic tipping protocol is $5, or $10 if you want to pay with a credit card. Blue Sky Deliveries charges restaurants $10 to deliver a lunch plus $3 added to the lunch customer’s bill, netting Rivera $13 for each delivery.
Rivera’s just getting started with deliveries. Café Desta dispatched Ethiopian finger food to the gem shows, and Bacon and Craeggs and Delectables, both on 4th Avenue, are also using the bicycle delivery.
“Eventually, I want to have deliveries from offices, too,” Rivera said.,
University Pedi-Cabs ride between Speedway and 22nd Street and from Interstate 10 to Campbell Ave. Same for Blue Sky Deliveries. The company has a rickshaw medallion for the University of Arizona campus.
A pedi-cab is one of the quickest ways to get from Point A to Point B in the greater Downtown area. Even if you cycle yourself, you still have to unlock and lock your bike at each end.
“We can get through traffic so much faster,” Rivera said. “We can take shortcusts. We can go where most cars can’t go.”
One University Pedi-Cab served the gem shows along the freeway Frontage Road, and Rivera rode a pedi-cab in the Veterans Day Parade, the All Souls Procession and the AIDS Walk. He also does occasional pedi-cab tours for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He subsidizes the tip-only income with a digital advertising board mounted in back with scrolling advertising for Café Desta, Adobe Rose Inn, Tucson Night Out, Broadway in Tucson and the International School of Tucson.
Rivera started University Pedi-Cabs at the end of July 2011. It’s not quite self-sustaining for him so he still works his prior job as a warehouse manager for an electrical contractor from 6 a.m. to noon.
“I like the outdoors, and a I’ve been a bicyclist all my life,” Rivera said.
Once word gets around, Rivera believes University Pedi-Cabs will become popular with Downtowners, especially those with a lunch desire several blocks from the office and even more “after lunch, they want a ride back to the office because they are stuffed,” he said.
Pedi-cabs also make a romantic ride for couples. UA students often want to squeeze three or more onto the bench, but Rivera limits ridership to three. A bicycle really isn’t ideal for more.
“They seat two people comfortably and three people uncomfortably,” Rivera said.