Monday, April 4, 2011

Pedicabs coming to downtown

Published: Sunday, April 3, 2011 12:02 AM CDT
While some entrepreneurs may be waiting before investing in a soon-to-be revitalized downtown Owensboro, Patricia McKeegan is taking the plunge now. But her venture won't be a restaurant or retail shop.

Transportation will be McKeegan's game.

Before the end of April, McKeegan will be the proud owner of a pair of pedicabs -- tricycle pedestrian taxis that she plans to put into operation on downtown streets this summer.

McKeegan, a Long Island, N.Y., transplant to Owensboro a few years ago, is a bicycling advocate, so starting a business that features pedal-operated people movers shouldn't come as a surprise.

She bought the pedicabs from Main Street Pedicabs, a Denver company that makes and sells several styles of the 21-speed tricycles that can carry up to three people in a passenger compartment mounted over the back wheels.

A solo rider sits up front on a standard bicycle seat and supplies the pedal power.

The pedicabs McKeegan chose cost $3,800 apiece, are 110 inches long, 50 inches wide and weigh 185 pounds.

McKeegan plans to rent them to independent driver-operators, who will provide rides to people on weekends and special occasions, while relying on tips for revenue.

McKeegan hopes to be in business by May.

"I'm very excited about downtown Owensboro," McKeegan said. "It is the best thing happening."

It will be next year before Smothers Park reopens and 2013 before the downtown convention center and Hampton Inn & Suites hotel open, but McKeegan is ready for Owensboro Pedicab to get started.

She is advertising for part-time rider operators to work four eight-hour shifts or more a month.

McKeegan said the pedicabs will circulate throughout the downtown area, picking up and dropping off fares.

Rider-operators will be required to undergo three hours of training, be at least 18 years old and able to pedal and operate a pedicab.

"I feel this is a good year for my experiment," she said. "I think it will be fun."