The bill stops short of the total ban of horse-drawn buggies in
Central Park and on New York City streets that Mayor Bill De Blasio
pledged on the campaign trail in 2013.
But after a compromise unveiled last month between the mayor and New
York Teamsters, the union representing carriage drivers, the bill
cuts the number of drivers to 95 from the 220.
Horse-drawn carriages, which currently offer limited rides on city
streets, would be prohibited from doing so. The city would also
convert a portion of the park into a stable that would house all
carriage horses by October 2018. The animals are currently kept in
stables in the West Side of Manhattan.
"This bill is devastating," carriage driver Adrian Marrs, 44, said
on Wednesday as he fed oats to his thoroughbred, Duke, on a park
sidewalk. "It's a sugar-coated ban is what it is."
De Blasio told reporters he was confident the plan would be
approved. Still, Marrs and other horse carriage workers have not
given up hope.
An exact timeline for phasing in the plan has not been determined.
At least one city council member has said he would move to delay a
vote, seeking more details about costs and timing.
Many coachmen have said the many proposed restrictions will put them
out of a job. They also said that cutting the number of horses will
burden the remaining animals with more work.
"It's going to put more stress on the horses," said carriage horse
owner Edward Ohara, 38.
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Park advocates have also spoken out against the proposed stable,
which they say would result in clogged park pathways.
Pedicab drivers, the largest horse carriage competitors, also oppose
the bill which would prohibit them form operating in parts of
"Doing that will kill our business, will kill our industry," said
pedicab driver Shaha Hakim, 19.
Opponents have also criticized the plan for not detailing the cost
of the new stable.
The Teamsters said they were satisfied that the deal avoided
immediate elimination of horse carriages.
"While this is not the bill we would have written on our own, the
goal has always been to preserve this industry," the union said in a
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by David Gregorio)
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