NYC visitor alert: it will now cost you nearly $100 for a standard 40 minute ride around Central Park. Horse and carriage drivers just got their first price increase since 2010, just in time for the start of the peak NYC summer tourist season.
Drivers can now charge $54.08 for the first 20 minutes of a ride, and $21.63 for every 10 minutes after. That’s up from $50 for the first 20 minutes and $20 for every 10 minutes after. Under the new price guidelines, that means carriage drivers can legally charge $97.34 for a typical 40-minute park ride, which needs to be paid in cash.
Drivers may round out the cost downward to $90 o $95 to avoid change, but they are not permitted to “round up” the charge to $100. Drivers are required by law to display rate cards on their carriages. New rate cards are being prepared as we write this. Drivers can charge the new, higher, prices once the new rate cards are attached to their carriages.
According to the NY Daily News, drivers who are medallion owners currently get to keep the whole fare, and those who lease keep about $20. Their new amount has yet to be worked out.
The fare increase amounts to an 8% hike, guaranteed by a City Council bill in 2010 that guaranteed drivers cost-of-living increases. A fare increase was supposed to go into effect in 2013, but did not because of – well – politics.
For those who have been following the NYC horse and carriage story: NYC Mayor de Blasio tried and failed repeatedly to get the horse-drawn carriages banned, despite their popularity with visitors to NYC. The wage-price increase has been held up while Hizzoner played politics with the NYC City Council, animal rights activists, and the NYC real estate industry, which wants to develop valuable properties on the West Side where the horses are stabled.
The Mayor’s decision to back off his campaign promise to shut down the NYC horse and carriage business and allow the cost-of=living increase may or may not have anything to do with the fact that his office is being investigated by several law enforcement agencies for fund-raising efforts, and donations by real estate groups.
photo courtesy Central Park