The growing furore surrounding the ‘Uber-fication’ of Venetian waterways shows no sign of abating this week.
Sources close to the secretive guild of the Gondolieri reveal that it is prepared to take industrial action against what it sees as a direct threat to its traditions and the livelihoods of its members.
Uberlas, as they have become known locally, currently account for only a small percentage of Venice’s canal transportation. However, gondoliers remain concerned that the operation will grow, driving down prices and increasing competition on the already congested waterways of the ancient city.
One Gondola boatman expressed concern over the visible rise in the use of satellite navigation systems by new drivers, arguing that it is not in keeping with the traditions of the time-honored trade.
In a further development, motoring publications await an announcement from the car giant Toyota to clarify reports that it intends to provide the technology for energy-saving, hybrid gondolas in what would be an expansion of the successful partnership between its Prius model and Uber.