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Not a novel occurrence for Mumbai, one may only peek into the recent past, the year was 2015 when Victoria horse-drawn carriages were expelled from Mumbai citing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (rightly so). Thus, a fresh and updated avatar was birthed – a battery powered carriage that not only deals with animal cruelty but is a boon for the environment too!
The state’s transport department cleared a proposal that permits the operation of battery powered Victoria carriages along some of the city’s most eye-catching tourist sites in South Mumbai. What’s more is that licenses will be issued to the same operators who lost their source of income four years ago, authorizing them to ply the same routes that were in operation in Mumbai for about a century (initially being used as a mode of transport and over time becoming a novelty, tourist attraction before their ban). However, the notification from the transport department details, “no more than six people (including the operator) should be allowed in the carriage; for the first six months the fare can be fixed by operators after which the fares shall be decided by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority”.
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Nearly three years ago, the horse-driven carriages had disappeared off the Mumbai roads and the clip-clopping of the horses had stopped. The buggies driven by horses were banned in 2016 on the grounds of animal cruelty. However, what was once a tourist attraction is all set to make a comeback, minus the horses as Ubo Ridez, a transportation company, is planning to introduce nearly 40 electronic, battery-driven carriages that will take tourists around heritage spots in Colaba, Nariman Point, Marine Drive, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Girgaum Chowpatty. . . . . . #rides #transport #transportation #victoria #victoriacarriagetours #carriage #ancient #history #vintage #travelling #mumbaitimes #mumbailive #mumbai #mumbaitour #mumbaicity #southbombay #uboridez
With an initial 40 carriages deployed in the first phase (chiefly around the Gateway of India, Nariman Point and Marine Drive), more routes are in the offing, contingent upon the smooth functioning of the first phase. An official from the transport department added, “We will train the drivers of the old Victoria horse carriages. By giving licenses to the old carriage riders, we will also be able to rehabilitate them”.
The buggies or e-carriages are said to be powered by a 60-volt lithium-ion battery that is capable of delivering speeds up to 20 km/h and will be GPS-enabled as well as being fitted with speakers that will deliver information about the city’s history when passing iconic landmarks. The whole project is being undertaken in a joint venture between UBO Ridez and actor/model Dino Morea.
While the trotting and neighing of horses may be a multisensory experience that many a mother-daughter and father-son may have witnessed time and over and grown up on, I can’t help but think of the saying ‘change is good’ which is especially true in this instance.
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