EVERY summer, the Bulletin receives a number of letters showing concern about the condition of the horses which pull the carriages through the streets of the old part of Palma. Many people feel that they do not have enough shade, and are forced to wait in the sun for long periods waiting for a fare.
The Palma city council inspects the 48 carriages and their horses every year.
To see how it goes, Alvaro Gijón, the city councillor in charge of traffic attended one of the inspection sessions, which are held in the car park at Bellver Castle. The site was chosen by the vets, so that they can test the state of the horse after pulling the carriage up hill.
The inspection covers various areas, including the environment.
The vet inspects the horse when resting and in movement, and makes a general study of its appearance.
At the same time, inspectors from the Mounted Police force inspect the drivers' papers including social security papers, insurance and tax papers and permits. The inspection does not stop there, however, as the traffic and transport department also tests the carriage, how well it is maintained, how the different parts function, paying particular attention to conditions of safety, comfort and hygiene. Gijón said that 19 of the carriages operate in Arenal, 23 in the high part of Palma and six in the lower part.
The carriages in the Playa de Palma will be inspected today.
The carriages are a popular feature of city life and continue operating despite protests from drivers.
Queen Sofia has been known to take guests on a ride through the old part of the city when here on holiday in the month of August.