June 16, 2024

Voyage into Spectacular Travels

Unveiling Authentic Journeys

Brussels becomes first city in Europe to replace horse-drawn tourist carriages with electric ones

3 min read

Despite horse-drawn carriages trotting along cobble stone streets between medieval buildings having a certain charm, in this day and age, they have become rather superfluous. Finding a way to combine old-time charm with modern solutions, the city of Brussels has inaugurated horse-less electric carriages.

The first city in Europe to make use of electric carriages specifically for tourist purposes, according to Belga news agency, the first such contraption was unveiled on 6 June. They were announced last year, when horse drawn carriages started being phased out, and have fulfilled the one-year promised timeline.

Last year, Thibault Danthine, who had been operating the horse drawn carriages for 10 years, announced he would stop the servic. Firstly, due to logistics and operational difficulties and secondly due to concerns over animal welfare.

“Things were becoming increasingly complicated logistically. I was going to have to move the stables anyway, and finding a stable that could accommodate four horses, manure, etc. in the middle of the city is very complicated”, he told RTBF at the time. “It’s not easy either, from a human resources point of view, to find people who know how to lead a horse around town and speak two or three languages.”

A few months prior, Brussels MP Victoria Austraet had drawn attention to the carriages being in use during the hottest days of the summer, with the horses working in 29℃ heat. “Ethically speaking, things are changing”, Danthine also said last year.

The solution of 100% electrical models was welcomed by everyone involved, including Danthine, who applied for and won the tender organised by the city. According to Belga, he was in fact the one who came up with the idea for electric carriages and is now able to continue his business with a renewed approach.

“The carriages are back, with an exclusive addition! Respect for tradition, 100% electric and a global innovation that replaces the old horse-drawn carriage. An important addition to the Brussels tourist offering”, Brussels Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs, Fabian Maingain, wrote on X.

Two more electric carriages should start circulating this year, one in the summer and another later in the year. Tourists will be able to choose between different routes, all starting in the Grand Place. Prices are fixed per carriage, regardless of how many people get onboard, with a tour of the city’s historic centre currently priced at €70. Once all 3 carriages are operational, it is hoped they will be able to serve the 15,000 tourists per year that made use of the horse wagons before they were taken out of service.


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