A bill is being introduced to replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City with electric ones by 1st June 2024. Conservative Queens Democratic Councilman Robert Holden introduced this bill on 14th July 2022 (Bill 0573-2022), together with nine other Council members.
According to the bill documentation, “This bill would wind down the horse drawn carriage industry by prohibiting the issuance of new licenses used in the operation of horse drawn cabs. The operation of such cabs would be prohibited beginning June 1, 2024. The industry would be replaced by horseless electric carriages that provide trips within Central Park and certain areas of Manhattan. The carriages would be electric low-speed vehicles that have a maximum speed performance of no more than 25 miles per hour. In Central Park, the carriages would be limited to speeds of 3 miles per hour. The City would be responsible for establishing a program to lease or sell the new carriages to prospective owners, with priority given to former horse drawn cab license holders. Under the new program, carriage owners would be required to pay carriage drivers a prevailing wage that would be set by the Comptroller. Former horse drawn carriage driver’s license holders would be given priority for the new driver’s licenses.”
The New Yorkers for a Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) is campaigning hard to get this bill passed. Edita Birnkrant, NYCLASS executive director, said to The NY Post, “This campaign is putting innovation over-exploitation by replacing 19th Century horse carriages with safe, humane 21st Century electric carriages… Unlike horses, electric carriages do not get spooked in busy traffic. Drivers will get more take-home pay and benefits. Midtown streets will be safer for all, and animals will no longer be abused or neglected. The year is 2022, not 1822. It’s long overdue for city leaders to transition away from carriage horses and end this obsolete abuse once and for all, as most other large cities have already done. Let’s pass this bill and get it done.” Previous attempts to pass similar bills have failed in New York City, although electric carriages have already been introduced in other cities, such as Charleston. Had Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City, been vegan, he would most likely be supporting this ban, but unfortunately, it turns out he is only pescatarian and he opposed a similar carriage ban during last year’s mayor’s race.