We have a cheer for Janet White, director of Carriage Horse Freedom in Philadelphia. A longtime advocate of banning horse-drawn carriages in Philadelphia and replacing them with electric horseless carriages, she recently put her money where her heart is, and bought one of her own.
Now, with support from Councilmember Mark Squilla, who represents Old City, she plans to showcase her new electric carriage for riders on July Fourth in Old City. If all goes well, White hopes the carriage, purchased from a Florida company, could be street ready for a trial period beginning in August.
In February, White went on a scouting trip to Mount Dora, Fla., the first U.S. city to use electric horseless carriages, and liked what she saw. “This is finally the right time,” she told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everything is coming together.”
Other Philly efforts to ban and replace horse-drawn carriages are also gaining steam. Recently the Brady Hunter Foundation, a New York nonprofit working to end animal cruelty, committed to purchase electric horseless carriages for Philly, including two to three prototypes that could also hit streets this summer.
Earlier this year, Philadelphia’s last carriage company pulled its horses from the streets and cleared out the stables. Squilla has promised to introduce legislation for a ban if the electric replacements are deemed street-worthy.
“I support her efforts,” Squilla said of White to the Inquirer. “I see it as another great opportunity.”
Another supporter is Vance Lehmkuhl, director of Old City’s American Vegan Center, who told the Inquirer he plans on using White’s carriage for his Veg History Tours.
“We are hoping to do some of the first tours on it,” he told the Inquirer. The July Fourth demo would be a celebration “of another Philly first,” he said.