Pedicab Drivers Offering Rides To ‘Boston Strong’ Concert, Giving Proceeds to One Fund
As Boston prepares for yet another musical festival with some of the biggest names in the industry—this time, to benefit the victims of the Marathon bombing—an alternative transportation company is offering an extra lift to concert-goers.
To give back to the community that Boston Pedicab operators call “their home,” money made from rides to Thursday night’s “Boston Strong” concert, which features performances by Aerosmith, Boston, and the New Kids on the Block, will be donated to the city’s One Fund, and help the victims and families impacted by the April 15 bombing on Boylston Street. “Often times if someone has a tragedy or something bad happens in the pedicab industry, we will pool a portion of our tips and help out. It’s within our culture…so when things like [the bombing] happen, the first impulse is ‘lets do this,’” says Christian Matyi, a three-year veteran of the pedicab industry in Boston.
Twenty-four total drivers will be out pedaling through the streets of the city, shipping music fans to the once-in-a-lifetime concert event. Proceeds from tickets sales for the concert are also going to the One Fund, which has raised more than $31 million to date.
Matyi says devising the plan and singing on to give money from rides to the concert at the TD Garden was a no-brainer because of both the ties the operators have with the city, and the impact the bombings had on employees. On the day of the blasts, Matyia says many pedicab drivers were nearby, and he himself saw one of the blasts go off as the side of a building “went up in black smoke.”
“It’s been really hard for us. Four or five [employees] were parked nearby. Another cabbie rode through the blood on the streets,” he says.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, pedicab operators stopped taking money from customers, and started shuttling people around the city to safety. In some instances, says Matyi, employees even rode doctors to area hospitals so they could help tend to victims of the attack. “In crowds, we are the fastest thing to get around— we are much faster than cars. We were doing things we would normally get arrested for,” he says. “People stopped taking money for rides and worked for about two to three hours to help out. That [mentality] of giving back is ingrained in the [pedicab] culture.”
Workers in the industry took the bombing personally, he says, because drivers utilize the path along Boylston Street “30 to 50 times” during each shift. With the area closed down for several days after the blast, as FBI officials investigated the bombing, Matyi says Boston Pedicab saw a dip in business, but employees stayed positive and were reminded by their employer to give back to Boston.
Marathon Monday is the second busiest day for employees, just after New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day.
“As we say to each other— keep rolling, roll safe, and keep smart. It seems wise to keep giving back to make people aware that we are a part of the Boston community,” says Matyi. “’Boston Strong’ is about pulling together, and saving the community at a community level.”
Matyi says he hopes the rides to the TD Garden on Thursday are a reminder to both tourists and locals that they are available as an alternative mode of transportation anytime of the week, but also in times of need. “All we can do is keep pitching in,” he says.
Concert-goers looking for an alternative way to get to the show can hail a pedicab on the street, or call the number on their website. Either way, they promise to be quicker than both a car “and the Green Line.”