Go Green Taxi

Pedicab Pilot Waits for Fare

Back in the 1800s, a Dallas businessman wrote that Fort Worth, Texas was so boring that a panther was seen sleeping on main street “undisturbed by the rush of men or the hum of trade.”  Fort Worth citizens rallied behind this and Fort Worth has been known as Panther City.  There is even a panther on the police badges and panthers adorn the older buildings downtown in place of gargoyles. 

But in the evenings downtown Fort Worth is no longer panther-friendly.  Clubs, restaurants, and street performers are everywhere you go.  And then there’s the bicycles. 

The police ride bicycles, security people ride bicycles — it’s the most efficient way to get around downtown.  When Dr. Hunter S. Thompson ran for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, one of his campaign promises was to close downtown to automobile traffic and have city maintained bicycles for public use, it’s not a new idea.   I was listening to my favorite street musician at 5th and Houston and I noticed an old friend of mine peddling a three wheel bicycle-like contraption up and down the street and from what I could tell just across 5th there seemed to be kind of a home base for these things.  I had to check it out. 

Go Green Taxi is the brain child of Steve Burdick, a retired bicycle racer who says he got the idea when racing down in Mexico.  Apparently these things are common down there. Steve, not being the sit-on-a-porch-in-a-rocking-chair kind of retiree, made this his retirement.  The bicycle powered taxis, called pedicabs, use 5th and Houston as a base of operations, but can be hailed all over downtown.  With the new stadium going in Arlington for the increasingly inaccurately named Dallas Cowboys there is a good chance that Burdick’s business will expand to cover that area as well.

Steve Burdick

In addition to the green-as-it-gets transportation they provide for the public the employees tell me that they use bicycles as their primary form of transpiration even when not on the job.  Spend a few hours on a street corner in down town Fort Worth and you really start to see the need for these guys.  You see the same cars drive past 10 or 15 times circling the block trying to find parking rather than park in the free parking garage on the outskirts.  All the gas wasted, all the noise, all the pollution and it’s a simple solution.  Next time you’re downtown keep an eye out for a pedicab.  They are starting to spring up in many major cities in the US.  Maybe the good doctors dream of a auto-less downtown can become a reality after all.    


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