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NYC Carriage Horse Plan Still Needs City Council Approval

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A deal to reduce the number of horse-drawn carriages and permanently move stables to Central Park will now go to the City Council for approval.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the union representing carriage drivers said Sunday they reached a deal that would prohibit horses from city streets beginning June 1 and reduce the number of licensed horses from 180 to 110 by December, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

It's unclear whether the deal would include compensation for carriage drivers who lose their jobs.

The stable in Central Park would be ready by October 2018, Diamond reported.

"This is already a city-owned building and city-owned that's being used for logistical purposes in the park," de Blasio said Monday. "It's not land that the public goes on already."

The number of hours per day a carriage may operate will be reduced, and carriages will be able to charge an extra $5 for trips after 6 p.m. between Nov. 15 and Jan. 5, and on Valentine's Day or Easter.

Carriage driver Steve Malone said some details still need to be worked out.

"Our goal has always been to preserve the industry and all its drivers and workers to the best of maximum amount," Malone told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond. "The agreement was made in principle, and we're still negotiating certain aspects of it to further strengthen it."

De Blasio said he didn't get everything he wanted in the deal, but he believes keeping the horses in the park will be safer.

"We know there have been a number of safety incidents -- crashes with cars, horses that were injured. That takes away the whole problem," the mayor told reporters, including WCBS 880's Ginny Kosola and 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa.

He said animal rights activists have guaranteed there are good homes for the horses that will be retired.

The City Council must approve the deal and could hold hearings as early as this week.

The issue of horses in Central Park has been a long, ongoing debate between the de Blasio administration, the horse carriage industry and animal activists.

De Blasio pledged to end the popular carriage rides when he was sworn in two years ago.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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