St. Augustine horse-drawn carriage business seeks coveted permits

City only allows 30 licenses and 15 are up for grabs

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Horse-drawn carriages are becoming more popular in St. Augustine, and some owners say they need additional permits to accommodate the demand.

The city of St. Augustine only allows 30 licenses for horse drawn carriages.

One business had 15 of those permits but shut down a short time ago.

Now another business said it wants some of those permits.

CB Hinson Southern Carriages in St. Augustine has two licensed horse-drawn buggies, but driver Ken McAllister said demand is growing, so his company needs more permits.

Each permit costs $1,000.

"If we had 10 licenses, we would be doing way more rides than we are doing now, especially on weekends and holidays," McAllister said. "There are plenty of times where I will have people call for the 7:00 or 8:00 spot, but if I only have two licenses I am already booked up, and I cannot accommodate (them)."

Only a handful of horse carriages in St. Augustine currently operate with one or two permits, which mean those businesses that want more will have a limited number to qualify for, according to Mayor Joseph Boles. 

"At this point there are 30 authorized carriage permits (of) which 15 are in active usage, which means that there are 15 available," Boles said. "Anyone who wishes to make a request for one just needs to do so in writing and the city will review it and issue them according to our allotment system."

McAllister said his company has already started the process of requesting more permits, and so far, they are the only ones who have applied.

The mayor said the city will review the requests at a June 9 meeting, but he was not clear on how long it would take the city to approve the permit requests.