Melbourne’s horse drawn carriages are set to be a thing of the past- at least on Swanston Street that is.
The City of Melbourne council announced the decision on Wednesday May 24 that, come the end of June, Swanston St parking permits for horse drawn carriages will expire and the drivers of said vehicles may be required to move to the horse-parking bay on St Kilda Road, which will remain operational.
In addition to their announcement, the City of Melbourne council cited the construction of Metro Tunnel in the CBD’s south as the reason for this change and that the ‘safety of trams, bicycles, and pedestrians will be prioritised on Swanston St’.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle further commented on the change in a statement, saying, “Swanston Street is now busier than Regent St in London,
“It’s no longer appropriate for the horse drawn vehicles to operate in their current location on Swanston Street”, he continued. “This civic spine should be primarily be used for cyclists, trams and delivery vehicles. The impact of the Metro Tunnel works makes this change necessary now”.
“We need to ensure that Swanston Street is a safe and accessible civic space for all Melbournians and visitors to the city”.
And while Melbourne’s horse drawn carriages do remain an attraction to visitors, it has received criticism over the years from animal activists groups claiming it as ‘animal cruelty’— and perhaps with good reason.
In October 2015, an incident involving a horse collapsing in the middle of the city was captured on video and released—sparking outrage—and the state of the facilities the horses live in overnight has also been called into question.
This decision cam after long community consultation process between carriage operators, Victoria Police, the RSPCA, local residents, and tourists, which began in December 2016.
Construction of the Metro Tunnel is expected to be completed by 2026.