New Yorkers will soon have to pay a bit more for a horse drawn carriage ride after the City Council passed a fare increase yesterday.
The bill said the fare hike -- the first in 20 years, will in turn improve the carriage horse industry. Ride prices will go up $16 for the first 20 minutes from $34 to $50. For every ten minutes following that, riders will be charged $20 for every 10 minutes, which increased from $10 per 15 minutes.
“I believe that the new rates, along with the new requirements, are huge steps forward for this industry -- increasing safety for passengers while also improving conditions for the horses," said City Council speaker Christine Quinn.
Those conditions listed in the bill include: Expanding the horses' stall size, requiring them to a five-week vacation per year, and doubling the number of required annual visits to the veterinarian. Drivers will also be mandated to use heavy blankets on the horses during cold weather, and waterproof ones when it rains.
The carriages will now be prohibited from traveling below 34th Street and operating at all from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.
To maintain driver and pedestrian safety, emergency brake systems will be installed in all carriages and requiring new drivers require licenses as well as more time to train them.
“This bill makes the best horse carriage industry in the country even better, with reforms that will provide a host of additional protections to the horses, economic sustainability for the drivers and an even better experience for New Yorkers and tourists who come from around the world to see Central Park from an open carriage provided by this iconic industry,” said Gennaro.
The bill passed with a 43 to 4 vote, with one member abstaining, in a meeting that was met with some opposition, reported the New York Times. Jeers from the audience featured one person heckling "You're a liar" as Quinn introduced the bill, reported the Times.