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There are fresh calls to ban horse-drawn carriages from Swanston Street after a horse driven by an unlicensed operator smashed its head through the window of a tram, sustaining minor injuries including a cut face.
The horse stepped onto tram tracks and hit a northbound tram, shattering a window panel in the driver's compartment.
According to police, the animal was dragged along by the tram for a short distance and suffered minor injuries to its head, face and foot.
No injuries to passengers were reported.
Police will review CCTV footage in the area to see who was at fault.
The collision held up trams for 20 minutes in Swanston Street, Melbourne's busiest tram corridor.
A Yarra Trams spokeswoman said it was the second time a horse-drawn carriage had crashed into a tram on Swanston Street.
The incident happened on Friday, just south of Flinders Lane, where horse-drawn carriages typically wait to collect clients.
The rides are popular with tourists but opposed by animal welfare activists, who have rallied for them to be banned.
Others have complained that the horses defecate on the street.
The carriage involved in Friday's incident was travelling illegally on the tram tracks when it hit the tram, the City of Melbourne said.
Its operator does not have a permit, the council said in a statement.
"Our understanding is that the horse-drawn vehicle was illegally transiting through a tram reserve, south of Collins Street," it said.
The council said it had no authority to prevent horse-drawn vehicles working in Swanston Street or elsewhere in the city.
Cycling group Bicycle Network said the incident was "just another example of the appallingly managed horse carriage operations in Melbourne's CBD".
The organisation wants the council to ban the horses from Swanston Street.
"There are thousands of bikes a day using this street, it's the busiest tram route in the world, and the street has huge pedestrian volumes – the horse carriages simply don't belong in this environment," chief executive Craig Richards said.
Bicycle Network said carriage drivers were illegally performing U-turns, travelling through platform tram stops and holding up trams.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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