Spring, as is known, always brings with it some certainties: daylight savings time, Easter, April Fool’s, trees in flower, and the colors that they bring.
In Venice, however, there are a few others, such as the disproportionate flowering of school field trips, the return of the cruise ships, and then the most certain of them all, which has arrived punctually each spring for years now: the collapse of public transportation during the days of Easter.
We Venetians know this so well that we try to dissuade anyone who shows even a remote desire to visit the city during these days: stay away, we tell them, it is madness. We’ve known this for years and years, and just like us, the administrators and ACTV know it too.
But there is nothing to be done: the transportation disaster always arrives right on time with the Easter egg. It is, though, an egg with no happy surprise. Writing this almost makes one laugh.
This is so because if the thing repeats punctually over time, logic would have it that over the course of this time, between one experiment and the other, between one experience and another, a solution would be found. But instead?
Instead, during the past Sunday and Monday the city has collapsed, as always. Alas, this is not an April Fool’s joke but a very real custom. Boarding a vaporetto was an undertaking requiring Olympian discipline, water taxis were clogged and under assault, much like the few garbage cans which are (not) found around the city, overflowing and filthy.
And while this happened with a disarming punctuality and predictability, the “tweetingest” Mayor in the country chirped only about the successes of Reyer and little else. He is concerned with basketball rather than garbage cans or transportation.
And, regarding these subjects, there is trouble for any who dare to criticize the chaos, because they will immediately be told, by the Director General of the AVM, to be quiet and to stop speaking nonsense.
What do we know about public transportation, we simple customers, we hear said by those who instead have clearly demonstrated over the years to have one unique, great talent, that of safeguarding the worst traditions (and very soon we’ll have seconds and thirds with April 25th and May 1st). Therefore we need to keep quiet, and perhaps even be thankful, according to the institutions that have the city in their hands.
We’re talking nonsense if we complain about the recurring transportation chaos, and if we dare to observe that, regarding the subject of tourism, not only has nothing been done, but that the situation has actually worsened, the Mayor, mocking us, tells us that we should go live in the countryside.
It seems that for this type of administrator, Venetians are a nuisance, pests who are capable only of impeding the master plan: that of definitively expelling the few residents who remain committed to living in the city, and who are convinced that as citizens they have needs, claiming rights, criticizing choices. For this ruling class the ideal is in fact the day-tripping tourist; to him you can peacefully offer the disastrous welcome on this Easter holiday.
However he might complain, his will likewise be a day-tripping complaint, and thanks to him, instead, Venice will definitively become that which these administrators are aiming for; a spread out theme park, and a four-star hotel to fill to excess (witness the proliferation in Mestre of thousands of low cost beds in the new, unsightly, monstrous hotels).
In one sense, perhaps, these administrators are right: we Venetians know only how to complain (like fools, too much). Has the moment finally arrived to show them that this is not really so, that more than complain we are also capable of overturning, of changing, of no longer being indifferent to the drift in progress now for far too long? A yes would truly be a nice surprise.
Roberto Ferrucci is a Venetian author
Source: La Nuova Venezia, 4 April 2018