Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bogotá's Horsecarts: Still Rolling Along

A horse and cart await the return of their owner,
who's inside the recyclers' association's office in La Candelaria. 
A horsecart waits patienly in the evening in La Candelaria. 
Yes another deadline is about to pass by with Bogotá's horsecarts still on the streets. The city government had vowed they'd be gone by Feb. 1, and replaced by motorized tricycles or something similar. Now, City Hall promises they'll absolutely, definitely be gone by September - except that the new deadline will get pushed back, too.

I'm not crying about it. The horsecarts add a sort of bucolic touch to Bogotá. And they also demonstrate that you can get around without an internal combustion engine, altho. few car drivers are likely to trade in their vehicles for horsecarts.

Of course, many of these urban horses are abused and underfect,, altho other zorreros cart owners really love their animals.

The city evidently doesn't have the budget to give the horsecat families the motorized scooter's they've promised them. Neither are there enough willing families to adopt the retired animals.

A scavenger carrying a load of carboard
could use a good horse. 
The survival of the horsecarts, called zorreros, might be good for reasons other than the fact that they add an interesting element to the city. They're also a way of life for their owners, who are humble families who survive by scavenging and selling things or by hawking items from the carts.

A horsecart waits for its driver to have lunch in the red light district.

A horsecart near the Central Cemetery with downtown Bogotá and the Eastern Hills in the background.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


clemente said...

Mike, I really like this post. I have to agree with you, these vehicles ad some charm to the city. Let me tell you, I have so much respect for the man carrying all that load.

Stuart Oswald said...

Nice post here. I know these people are poorer compared to ourselves but I am sure they live a more fulfilling life. I would suggest that instead of the government or any authority imposing false change on good people, it would be far better to allow wealth to feed down naturally through the free economy. That way everyone will rise on their own abilities. It's a much more natural and nondiscriminatory way of improving everyone's prospects. I really hope to see horse and cart in Bogota for a long time to come and perhaps even in more developed countries too.

mauricio forero l said...

Finally Stuart writes something that is cool and nice. I have to tell you dude, this time I'm very moved by your comment and, actually I completely agree with you. You have shown a touch of humanity and kindness that I thought you completely lack...
Good job Stuart.

M. Forero.

Unknown said...

Those zorreros contribute to the cities crime statistics because they frequently mug people, and horse-drawn carts are a danger on the roads, not to mention the sanitary issues. It's time they got that crap off the street once and for all.

Miguel said...


The zorreros do have a reputation for criminality - and some of them did steal two of our bikes. However, I've never seen them mug anybody. And I haven't ever seen a traffic accident involving a horsecart, altho I have heard of them. One advantage, I think, is that if the driver is drunk, the horse can still get home alright.
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