New York City Carriage
On January 22, 2016, the City of New York held a public hearing to take testimony on a proposed bill that would allow the carriage horse industry to continue operating in New York City, but limit their operations to Central Park. The law would maintain the number of carriage licenses at 68, but would reduce the number of horses used to drive the carriages to 110 (about 50% of the number now used) by June 1, 2016 and to 95 by December 31, 2016 (with only 75 horses being allowed to operate at one time). The reduction in the number of horses would result in a significant drop in the number of carriage rides available and obviously would result in the loss of jobs for an undetermined number of carriage drivers. In exchange for relegating the horses to Central Park, the City has agreed to build stables to accommodate 75 horses.
The public hearing, attended by some 200 people, was most notable for the City’s lack of preparedness. On questioning by various City Council members, Mayor Di Blasio’s staff, including representatives from transportation, health and safety and the police department, struggled to provide answers to a number of basic questions. This included accident statistics involving carriage horses; the number of carriage rides offered annually; the exact location of the new stables; the cost of the new stables; when the stables will be completed; and how many drivers would lose their jobs.
Under the proposed legislation, the stables will not be completed until at least October 2018 (and the Council was skeptical about that), but the reduction in the number of horses goes into effect within the next few months. Many Council members questioned why the number of horses needed to be reduced prior to construction of the stables.
On January 26, 2016, the City provided a memorandum addressing some of the questions asked by Council members at the January 22 hearing. Most notably, the “Fact Sheet” fails to address the question of timing.
View the four page Fact Sheet.
No vote is currently scheduled on the proposed legislation.