Local authorities in Horea village approved the first horse powered taxi to service their community. The first ride of the horse-taxi took place at the 10th "Wood Craftsmen Day" celebrated in the Apuseni Mountains. Corneliu Olar, the mayor of Horea village, thinks this kind of taxi would higher the income raised by the City-Hall and will help the development of the rural tourism.
One calls the taxi service here as one would in an urban area: by phone. Only that at the other end of the line a City-Hall employee answers the phone, and not the one of a cab company. So far the taxi service uses only two carts, covered with a cloth specific to this area. The "engine" is powered by two horses of heavy built breed, suited for pulling big weights, for indeed the carts can sit as many as eight people.
These environmental-friendly taxis can take you anywhere you want, even on mountain tops, at 5,000 lei per kilometer s15 eurocentst. It is a 20-minute ride to the top of Fericetului Mountain, where the memorial house of Horea is located. Also within short distance horse-drive are the Loversâ Park, on Gafâs Cliff, and the village of Petreasa, located at the highest altitude in the country: 1,642 meters.
Limo-like services are also on hand: a small freezer provides chilled drinks to the customers, and a music band of two musicians travel on the back bench to provide the entertainment. They are dressed in the traditional folk dress and their repertoire ranges from rock to opera and Romanian folk music.
"We are glad for the new jobs and also for the new attraction in our village," said harmonica player Nicu Mates. "We are flexible, and ready to sing whatever the customers might fancy," added he.
Nicolae Costea, one of the "taxi" drivers points out that a horse driven cart provides a flexible and affordable ride. "We take them sthe customerst on a ride at the speed of their choice to the places they fancy visiting," said Costea. "This job is of great importance to me, since I may thus supplement the income of my family," added he.
Liviu Mititean was one of the first customers to enjoy the ride in a horse-cart taxi. "I honestly tell you that I traveled a lot both inside and outside Romania and yet I did not experience such a wonderful thing: to enjoy the fresh mountain air and reach mountain tops in a horse cart taxi! It was wonderful; I enjoyed every bit of it and I will definitely come back here and ride the taxi again," explained Mititean.
Mayor Olar, who sits in a true "Oval Office" and does not let the similarity go unnoticed with holding a sculpture of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky inside the City Hall, is happy with his idea for the unconventional taxi service. "Setting up such a service was a must, and since gasoline prices keep on rising and roads are pretty bad here, we had no alternative but to pick the horse cart as the likely candidate," said Olar.
"Animal breeders and locals alike will benefit of this new addition to our community services," added Olar.