NYC pedicab license — Pedicabs

NYC pedicab license

Legs of Steel: Analyzing NYC’s Pedicab Drivers

If you have spent much time in some of the more touristy areas of Manhattan, then you no doubt have seen the army of pedicab drivers ringing bells and trying to convince you to hop in for a ride. It’s hard enough to bike around the city, but imagine doing it while pulling two people behind you!

So who are these brave people that don legs of steel? And where do they come from within the city?

Once again, NYC Open Data can shed just a bit of light on this subject.

According to the data, there are 1, 173 licensed pedicab drivers. To explore their names, I made a word cloud of first and last names. Bigger names appear more often in the data set:

The names seem to show that pedicab drivers are largely immigrants.

We can also explore where the drivers registered their license (and presumably currently live):

The table shows us that the most common borough to hail from is Brooklyn. On the flip side, Staten Island is only home to 9 pedicab drivers. About 12% of drivers give addresses outside of the five boroughs.

We can also look at the top 10 zip codes where the drivers live:

Brighten Beach’s 11235 seems to lead the pack with 83 pedicab drivers. Other neighboring areas in that part of Brooklyn close behind.

It is sometimes said that jobs spread locally within certain immigrant communities. For example, a recent New York Times article showed that many Bangladeshi are joining the NYPD as traffic police. If that is the case for pedicabs, we should be able to see geographical clusters of pedicab drivers when we map their density by zip code:

The map splits NYC zip codes into deciles, where the darkest zip codes have the highest # of pedicab drivers who registered there. The darkest zip codes have from 15 to 83 drivers registered.

The map confirms that there are indeed clusters of pedicab drivers around the city. The largest cluster seems to be in south west Brooklyn, but there are others in Queens, upper Manhattan and parts of the Bronx.

So the next time you see a pedicab in Midtown, remember not only does the driver have to pull riders around all day, but odds are he has a long trip home. Especially if he bikes.

-Word cloud made using wordle.net
-Map made in QGIS
-Analysis done in Excel (pivot tables!)

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