Electric vehicles to hit roads in car-free Prince’s Islands
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has brought electric vehicles to be used on the Princes’ Islands (Adalar), off Istanbul’s coast, after a ban on horse-drawn carriages as a result of the killing of dozens of horses due to an outbreak of glanders and years-long animal rights activism against what advocates called the ill-treatment of horses.
Two different types of electric vehicles, one with a capacity of four and the other with a capacity of 14, are expected to come into service this week.
Traffic signs were hung on the islands for the vehicles to be used and the strips to be used were drawn.
A significant number of residents of Istanbul and animal lovers are happy that electric vehicles are put into service after the banning of horse-drawn carriages, which were the only means of transportation.
“Veteran horses will no longer be left to die,” one user tweeted, referring to the horses collapsing and dying while drawing a carriage.
An average of 400 horses die each year and the average horse life of 20-25 years fell to two years due to horse-drawn carriages used in transportation.
The photos shared on the social media had stirred the anger of the public after the horses trying to climb steep slopes in the summer heat died due to thirst and neglect.
But there are some who are not satisfied with the introduction of electric vehicles due to their appearances.
“Did you say the spirit, heritage, culture, history of the islands? You can find a ‘creative’ solution as much as a colorful van,” tweeted Karal Valansi, a journalist, expressing her dissatisfaction about the electronic cars explicitly.
“There is no soul other than the spirit of the dead horses on the Islands. Horses will no longer die,” another social media user replied to Valansi.
“It could have been more authentic. I saw more of those similar to phaeton abroad. We are very pleased with the island, but it should have been more nostalgic,” said Murat Horman, a Büyükada resident.
“Carriages have been the symbol of the island for years. Of course, it is not correct to use it for transportation. Animals cannot bear this burden,” said Mesut Yalçın, the owner of a shop on the island, noting that it resembles public transportation buses in Istanbul.
A total of 60 vehicles were purchased, of which the service fee will be determined by the municipality’s Transportation and Coordination Center (UKOME).
Istanbulkart, which is used in public transportation in the city, will be valid on the electric vehicles.
Twenty of the Chinese-made vehicles will have a capacity of four people each and 40 of them will have a capacity of 13 people.
Last year, the Istanbul Governor’s Office announced its decision to prohibit the use of horse-drawn carriages for three months.
Around 1,500 horses were used for transportation purposes on the Princes’ Islands, where vehicular traffic is banned.