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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, October 25, 2021

New taxi service bikes into town

Davis’ popular mode of transportation is now available as a taxi service.

Every night of the week, Davis Pedicab roams the town, looking to give rides to anywhere in Davis for a generous tip.

“The service is based [on] a gratuity system,” said Chris Motiejunas, a sophomore kinesiology major at American River College and shift manager for Davis Pedicab. “People pay what they think is fair, and sometimes we barter a guaranteed amount if we do a pick-up from across town.”

Motiejunas is one of the first bikers for Davis Pedicab, which started on New Year’s Eve. The bike taxi service is owned and operated by Andrew Watters and Melanie Roberts.

Watters, originally from Maryland, has six years of experience working for other pedicab companies. He has ridden in cities including Boston, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Neither Watters nor Roberts, who is from San Diego, had any connections in Davis. After much research, they realized that this city would be a good place to base their pedicab company.

“Davis has a lot of potential,” Watters said. “It’s nice and flat, and it’s a consistent place to ride.”

Watters is trying to establish the business by getting advertisers.

“We’re trying to get Woodstocks and a couple of other businesses to support us,” Watters said. “We would have full vinyl wraps around the whole (cab) for businesses to advertise.”

The company can also be hired for special events. They have Facebook and Twitter accounts through which they can be reached.

Davis Pedicab currently has three bikes that can be outfitted for use, even in bad weather.

“We’re out there rain or shine,” Motiejunas said. “I bike about eight hours a night, and it’s pretty much a constant ride.”

Motiejunas, like other bikers for the company, rents the bike from the company during his shifts. During the week, the rent for a bike is 30 percent of the money he makes for the night. On weekends, he pays a flat rate. Motiejunas gets to keep the rest of the tips he earns.

“Every week, it’s been getting better and better,” Motiejunas said. “People are starting to recognize us.”

There are people who are starting to become regular customers, Motiejunas said.

Much of the businesses has been at parties and during bar hours. For the most part, the tips have been generous.

“One time, there was a guy who gave me $20 and said ‘This is for the people who don’t tip you tonight,'” Motiejunas said.

The best tip he received so far is $50 for a group of three.

“But it was also one of the worst, because one of the guys threw up in my cab,” Motiejunas said. “The guys did clean up the cab, though.”

Watters had to deal with other body excretions.

“I had to kick a guy off the pedicab not too long ago who stood up and started to urinate off the cab,” Watters said. “He was warned not to do this.”

Another bike service, this one free from vomit and public urination, is in real estate.

Leslie Blevins and Leslie Tuel – collectively known as Team Leslie – are using bikes as an addition to their real estate services for Coldwell Banker.

Last fall, Team Leslie started taking their clients on bike tours to look at houses in select neighborhoods.

“We serve homemade donuts and coffee, then hop on bikes to see a few houses,” Tuel said.

Tuel and Blevins schedule a tour of a particular neighborhood on the weekend and invite their clients along for the ride. They have bikes, helmets and trailers for smaller children available to clients who do not own bikes.

“We pedal around for about an hour and a half and see about four or five houses,” Tuel said.

According to Blevins, the bike tour offers a different perspective from taking cars to different houses.

“You get to see what it would be like if you were living in the neighborhood,” Blevins said. “You’ll know how far it takes to get to the school, to the greenbelt and the parks nearby.”

Although the winter weather has been a challenge for the bike tours, Team Leslie is excited for spring tours.

“We look forward to going out more,” Tuel said. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback, and we think it’s going to catch on.”

SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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