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Wagons have been banned from the city centre and major boulevards in Sofia for years now

Sofia wants to ban horse-drawn wagons

Sofia wants to ban horse-drawn wagons

Offenders could face horse confiscation

On Monday, local authorities in Sofia announced that they are preparing to introduce a full ban on horse-drawn wagons and carts in the city. The ban should come into effect on 1 June 2022, as it requires an amendment to traffic regulations. The new policy was proposed by Carlos Contrera and Borislav Ivanov from the City Council, from the ‘Patriots for Sofia’ workgroup.

Currently, there is a partial ban on horse-drawn vehicles in the centre of the city and on major boulevards, as well as a mandate to register wagons and horses with the traffic authorities. At the same time, violations could be as harsh as confiscation of the vehicle and animal.

However, representatives of ‘Patriots for Sofia’ have also stated that this particular regulation cannot be effectively enforced, as the municipality has no means to care for or house the confiscated animals.

No horse – no problem

The main goal of the new regulation is to give authorities more leverage and resources to tackle the problem. They want to combine the efforts of several institutions, including the police department and the Emergency Aid and Safety Department. The Emergency Aid and Safety Department is included in the proposal as they have a vehicle for transporting horses.  

After the horses are confiscated, they will go into the custody of Ecoravnovesie – a municipal company tasked with controlling the population of homeless animals in Sofia.

Importantly, the wagons themselves are not the problem, rather, the problem is the horses. Technically speaking, the regulation will allow owners of wagons to convert them into rickshaws.

According to Councillor Simeon Slavchev, who is one of the initial proponents of the amendment, horse-drawn wagons pose many risks for the capital. He explained that wagons increase the risk of traffic incidents and are a source of pollution on the streets of the city.

Mr Slavchev clarified that the new ban wants to exclude horse-drawn carriages, as they are a feature of the tourism sector. Councillor Carlos Contrera, on the other hand, said that district mayors in Sofia will have to inform citizens who own wagons and horses about the new regulation by 31 January.

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