A Flavour of the Victorian Era Now Up for Sampling on the Streets of Mumbai

Not an actual relic or period piece but rather a modern-day rendition of Victoria carriages that take into account the ghastly act of animal cruelty.
A horse pulled Victoria carriage
A horse pulled Victoria carriage

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 &ndash a battery powered carriage that not only deals with animal cruelty but is a boon for the environment too

The state&rsquos transport department cleared a proposal that permits the operation of battery powered Victoria carriages along some of the city&rsquos most eye-catching tourist sites in South Mumbai. What&rsquos 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, &ldquono 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&rdquo. 

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, &ldquoWe 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&rdquo.

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&rsquos 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&rsquot help but think of the saying &lsquochange is good&rsquo which is especially true in this instance.

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