Mayor Bill de Blasio will introduce City Council legislation next week banning all horse carriages by 2016 — while helping the drivers find another line of work, the New York Post is reporting.
Over the weekend, a number of Council members were briefed on a bill that would give the drivers one year to find another job while offering them free permits to operate green cabs.
The green permits cost at least $6,000 each.
The city has already issued some 200 of them. It was not clear whether the city would add additional permits or try to buy out the existing ones.
The city has had 68 officially licensed horse-drawn carriages since the late 1940s.
The equine industry generates about $19 million a year.
Drivers interviewed last night gave a resounding neigh.
“We buy these horses from the Amish by the pound,” says a carriage driver who asked not to be identified. “If not for us they would be dog food and glue. The horses get better health care and more vacation than we do.”
Another driver said that the green cab permit would be a slap in the face.
“If they offered me a green cab medallion I wouldn’t take it,” he says. “They really just want our West Side stable for real estate development.”
Aaron Hoover, a Lancaster County, Pa., farrier who shoes about 200 of the city's carriage horses, is confident de Blasio's measure will fail.
“I think he’s going to have a tough time getting it passed,” he tells American Farriers Journal. “It sounds like a lot of the Council members are swinging in favor of the carriage industry since the beginning of the year.”
If de Blasio is successful in outlawing the industry, Hoover stands to lose about half of his clientele.
“I guess I’ll have to pick up more clients locally in Pennsylvania,” he says. “It’s going to be a challenge.”