I read in The Pinkster’s column that Atlantic City has finally fixed the rolling-chair problem. That’s huge.
No disrespect to the rolling-chair pushers. Bless their hard-working hearts — that’s a rough way to make a living. But they play a major role in making the Boardwalk look seedy. Let’s just say that most of them do not dress for success.
Not that it was really their fault. The problem was the business model that the city allowed to exist.
In the past, most of the individual rolling-chair operators leased their chairs for 22 hours at a time from one of the two rolling-chair companies. The amount they paid varied according to the time of year and day of the week. But to maximize their take, the rolling-chair operators took their chairs out early in the day and just pretty much camped out on the Boardwalk. They sat there lining the railing, eating, dozing, chatting and generally giving a bad impression of the city to anyone passing by. It was a classic case of Atlantic City shooting itself in the foot.
Now City Council has passed an ordinance that requires the people pushing the chairs to be employees of the rolling-chair companies. And just like that, the incentive for a rolling-chair pusher to sit up on the Boardwalk doing pretty much nothing disappeared. The ordinance also cuts by 40 the number of chairs allowed on the Boardwalk (to 305, according to Pinky) — another necessary step.
And most of important of all, the new ordinance requires the rolling-chair operators to provide their employees with uniforms, which will certainly improve the look of the rolling-chair fleet and make the ‘walk more tourist friendly.
All of this should have been done decades ago.