Changes to carriage tour industry to be discussed Wednesday

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston is looking to make some changes to the carriage tour industry. This comes after a local animal advocacy group requested some the city adopt a safety ordinance pertaining to the industry.

During the pandemic, Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates (CCHA), a local non-profit, approached city leaders with a comprehensive safety plan that group leaders felt encompassed necessary changes.

The City of Charleston’s legal team followed protocol by doing their own extensive research to back up the proposed plan and the team came up with their own safety ordinance.

“It all concerns safety and training, emergency procedures, and just carriage operations in general,” explained Dan Riccio, the Director of Livability and Tourism for the city.

Last month, the city’s ordinance was passed around to several different subcommittees and was ultimately adjusted to remove some of the original language. The original proposal can be read here, and the updated proposal can be read here.

“It was what we felt was good, and reasonable, and enforceable,” said Riccio.

Ellen Harley, a board member with CCHA says the current plan is “watered-down” and she feels too many important safety precautions have been left out.

“Ther are protections for children,” said Harley. “How children should be placed in a wagon. With adults on either side, and in the back and the front.”

Harley also said that CCHA recommended random, routine drug testing for drivers and tour guides and having both a driver and tour guide on every carriage. This way drivers can focus on the road instead of turning around to address passengers.

“We just feel like there needs to be some real serious reforms, not just window dressing.”

The proposed ordinance will be addressed in a meeting on Wednesday evening.

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