The London Daily Mail is reporting that Venice will be banning the gondolas on the Grand Canal during busy periods. This is due to the death of a gondola passenger earlier in a collision with a vaporetto. From the article linked below, "Now the lagoon city is drawing up proposals to introduce a floating congestion zone, which would prevent the traditional boats from operating during rush hours". The Daily Mail is also reporting that the gondolier of the gondola involved in the crash tested positive for cocaine use. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2402751/Venice-bans-famous-gondolas-Grand-Canal-busy-periods-water-way-collision-kills-tourist.html
Makes sense. This is like not allowing bicycles on an arterial road (which the Gran Canal is for all effects in the city's transportation network).
Bummer, that was my planned adventure for next month.
The gondolier was probably talking on his cell phone too. They always seem to be.
Perhaps we will see what actually happens in the fullness of time.
It is important to say gondola rides will keep being allowed on all other channels of the city, where you actually can enjoy a ride without the wake and noise of many larger boasts. Another issue is the lack of professionalism and adherence to rules of gondola operators. The system of giving them licenses is asinine to say the least. It is almost and hereditary privilege akin to practices of 17th century. It wouldn't be accepted for any other occupation, but they keeping getting away with it (imagine of someone proposed that only people with blood ties to the Dolomites could be ski instructors there, for instance).
That DM article does say "during busy periods". The Telegraph was (a bit) more specific and reported that some freight barges will be banned from canals (including Grand Canal), after "mid-morning" and the gondolas before then (although in the recent accident, I think it was a water bus involved not a barge). There are also proposals to add bow-thrusters to the vaporetto and to ban mobile 'phone use whilst "driving" any boat. The Telegraph also reports that the gondolier in the recent accident is now under investigation for manslaughter (or Italian equivalent), having tested positive for cocaine.