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Testimony at Hearing of the Council on Consumer Affairs –

March 12, 2010    

My name is Dena Allen and I am with the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.  I support a merger of Intro 92 and 86, which would ban the industry outright and offer alternative “green” employment to dislocated carriage horsemen.  NYC is no place for these slow moving 19th century artifacts and it is time for us to embrace the 21st century and retire the horses. 

I am opposed to Intro 35, the industry bill, because its real purpose is to get a rate increase for the drivers and provide indexing for inflation, which is nothing more than a public bailout of a private industry.  All the other provisions in the bill like stall size, which is too small, or vacations without daily turnouts, are window dressing designed to deceive.  It will not help the horses. 

The carriage industry overcharges and gets away with it.  The Administration looks the other way, the Department of Consumer Affairs looks the other way and I believe this committee is also looking the other way.  If any other industry in NYC violated the law like this, there would be big penalties. 

This issue was brought up at the hearing last January 2009 and every official looked the other way.  And here we are more than one year later and nothing has changed.  What kind of role model is it when our elected officials essentially rubberstamp this kind of fraud?

There are several YouTube videos that show drivers overcharging on the street – some even charge sales tax, which is not required.  I listed the links for you to look at later.

The New York Post, and later Gothamist, reported this overcharging on November 15, 2009 in an article Taken for a Ride – Carriage Trade Rips off Tourists.”

There are several industry websites that continue to significantly overcharge and get away with it. 

New York Tours charges $125 to $173 for 40 minutes

Gotham Carriages charges $58 for 25 minutes and up to $120 for 40 minutes.  The prices on their web site have been removed – possibly in preparation for the hearing today? 

Manhattan Carriage Company lists $34 for 17 minutes (which is not legal) and asks tourists to call for prices.  Why would that be when the prices are supposedly set.   

Kensington Stables – charge $90 for 40 minutes.

It is simply not ethical or honest for this to continue with impunity.  It is New York City’s shame. 

I address the woman whose husband is a carriage operator who attends their children’s career days, who claims this is an honest living.  Ask the unwilling beast at the end of your husband’s whip if it’s fair. Ask him if it’s honest. It’s his blood.  His sweat.  His tears. And it’s YOUR husband who is getting paid. CASH.  Tax-free.

Might I propose we instill better values in our children? Go to college, get an education, get a REAL career that contributes to society without exploiting sentient creatures and cheating unwitting tourists.  Then, and only then, will we elevate society to a higher standard.

Intro 35 is a sham bill.  I call on the Council to oppose it. 

Coalition To Ban
Horse-Drawn Carriages

A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.

The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.

P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025


To honor
Bobby II Freedom
previously known as Billy
ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.

In memory of
Lilly Rose O'Reilly
previously known
as Dada ID# 2711
R.I.P.August, 2007