Monday, June 14, 2021

Rickshaws in Oxford

Ashley Hoffner is a pedicab driver, a new kind of taxi introduced to Oxford this year. She found this job online while searching for new hiring positions in Oxford. Hoffner began working on the last week of May.
Hoffner turned on the electric support that would help up pull more than 300 pounds. She hopped on the bicycle and pulled out of the Volta’s parking lot without breaking a sweat. She motioned with hand signals for lane changes and turns and pulled over to let cars pass by. The entire time she talked easily, appearing unbothered with pulling the rickshaw. She explained the road rules for rickshaws.

Ashley Hoffner prepares the rickshaw.
Ashley Hoffner prepares the rickshaw. Photo taken 8/12/14.

“We can’t go on roads over 35 mph speed limit,” Hoffner explained. “We average 15 to 20 mph. All drivers need two licenses to drive this: a drivers’ license and a pedicab license, which you have to apply for with the city clerk.”
She turned into a neighborhood street. A couple of men standing on their front lawns shaded their eyes as they peered at the custom-made rickshaw. The rickshaw isn’t a common sight yet around Oxford.
Ashley Hoffner pedals by the Courthouse. Photo taken 8/12/14.
Ashley Hoffner pedals by the Courthouse. Photo taken 8/12/14.

About Pedicabs
Pedicabs are a fast-growing transportation service introduced to Oxford in February. They are bicycle taxis that look somewhat like chariots. There are two pedicab services in town: Rebel Rickshaw and Rebel Pedal (hyperlink). Rebel Rickshaw is expecting to expand to allocate more services to Oxonians, especially during the football gamedays.
Nason Williams and Randall Roberson are the founders of Rebel Rickshaw. Williams, although currently living in Jackson, works every day to expand the service.
“I was at the Ole Miss/Texas game in Austin and the university had rickshaws available,” Williams said. “Since taxicabs were not allowed on campus it makes sense to have a pedicab service there, especially for the alumni.”
Pedicabs in Oxford
Williams said that Rebel Ricksaw has been in communications with Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance, UPD Chief Sellars and AD Ross Bjork to allow them to run their pedicab service on campus this fall.
“The alum can park and we can take them to the campus, and after the games too,” Williams said.
Ashley Hoffner enjoys the Grove view. Photo taken 8/12/14.
Ashley Hoffner enjoys the Grove view. Photo taken 8/12/14.

Rebel Rickshaw is planning to hire up to 30 new employees so the service can be available for 18 hours each day during the football games.
For those interested in employment for Rebel Rickshaw must be aware of the requirements: must be 18 years old with a valid drivers’ license and must have no felony convictions in the past decade, as well as schedule flexibility.
Hoffner has this to say for applicants: “My advice for new applicants would be to call Nason Williams and get him to email you the application so it can be processed at the City Hall as soon as possible! When the city approves you, you’re ready to get started.”
About Rebel Rickshaw
Rebel Rickshaw has curbside service and can be flagged down throughout downtown Oxford. Its pedicabs can comfortably fit up to five adults. There are additional spaces for Grove necessities, shopping bags and purses. Rebel Rickshaw’s operating hours are Wednesday through Saturday nights from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m., an hour after the bars close. For game day weekends, the pedicabs are available all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The pedicabs are available for ad sales for businesses looking to advertise in Oxford. Williams said, “The rickshaws have over 40 square feet of ad space. Currently we have sold five of our eight cabs, and we believe we will sell out.”
The pedicab service is in partnership with Visit Oxford. Through Visit Oxford there are hour-long tours of Oxford’s most historic homes, including William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, and hour-long tours of University of Mississippi’s campus. Local historian Jack Mayfield narrates these tours. To schedule these tours contact Visit Oxford at 662-232-2477.
Katie Kaiser, visitor services coordinator at Visit Oxford, said, “[A]nyone can let us know they would like a tour of Oxford, and they can usually have a bike and driver available within an hour. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.”
More Coming
Rebel Rickshaw is growing in size and efficiency. “We’ll have eight rickshaws soon and they’ll have a rechargeable battery,” Hoffner said. “The battery is connected to the front tire and will help me pull the rickshaws better.”
The Oxford government recently reviewed a draft revision of the taxi ordinance. The city also has a booklet in the works: Taxicab Safety Book of Standards. Its draft can be viewed here: https://www.oxfordms.net/documents/departments/cityclerk/TaxiStandards2014.pdf
For those interested in booking a ride may call Visit Oxford at 662-232-2477, or call/text the Rebel Rickshaw at 662-816-9796.
– Callie Daniels is a staff writer/rock star for HottyToddy.com. She can be contacted via email at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com

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