Thursday 19 July 2018

'People would ask if I had drugs, that's not my way' - Ex-rickshaw driver on the reality of the job

Rickshaw driver in city centre
Rickshaw driver in city centre
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

A former rickshaw driver said one of the reasons he quit was because he was fed up of regularly being asked if he sold drugs.

Ricardo Vieira (40) moved to Ireland from Brazil in 2013 and operated his rickshaw in Dublin City until 2015.

Ricardo claims the majority of rickshaw drivers  don't sell drugs and he doesn't like that reputation.

He told Independent: "Not all rickshaw drivers sell drugs. Most rickshaw drivers are good people.

Ricardo says most rickshaw drivers don't sell drugs
Ricardo says most rickshaw drivers don't sell drugs

"People would ask if I had drugs but I would say no. It was mostly Irish people asking if I had drugs.

"That's not my way, I don't have to sell drugs, I didn't sell drugs in Brazil. I'm not going to do it in Ireland - I came here for a new life."

Read More: 'My tooth ended up inside my lip'- Rickshaw crash victims warn people of the potential dangers

Ricardo was speaking after the National Transport Authority launched a survey that would help with the potential regulation of rickshaws.

He welcomed the news and said he thinks it's important that the authorities clamp down on drug dealers.

He said: "Rules would make sense and make it work better. It's simple. An ID system would help identify rickshaws and drivers.

"If the gardaí deported people who sold drugs instead of catching them and letting them go that would stop some drivers from selling drugs." 

Ricardo explained that since he started driving the number of rickshaws in Dublin has increased dramatically.

He said: "When I started there was around 30 bikes, now there's around 500.

"I worked from Monday-Monday and it was hard, I didn't speak English so I found it hard to understand people when they were telling me directions."

Read More: Exclusive: Rickshaw drivers selling weed, cocaine and pills while working in city centre

Ricardo now works as a mechanic for a rickshaw company, where he fixes the three-wheeled, battery motored bikes.

He said that rickshaws are a good service and that Irish people "love them".

"Irish people use rickshaws a lot. They love them, they're very open-minded," he said. 

The NTA is asking rickshaw drivers, rickshaw passengers and road users to submit their views on the vehicles in order to help regulate them.

The survey can be found on the NTA's website and is open until September 25.

Email submissions should be sent to rickshaws@nationaltransport.ie. 

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