And You Thought Your Traffic Was Bad…

8 Dec

While we’re on the always fun topic of bashing public services here in Rome (come on, admit it, sometimes it can be fun), I’d like to share with you a photo I took from the TV news just over a week ago. I always make fun of the public transport workers when they strike, because we all know it’s just to get a free Friday off of work, right?

Well, I will say that I have to hand it to the taxi drivers. When they strike, they STRIKE. As in, total gridlock. They were striking against the decision to add 500 new taxi licenses to the city. This would effectively increase competition for the current drivers and lower the value of their licenses, which is in effect their retirement because when they decide to retire they sell their license and live off of the income. A New York Times article on the strike can be found here.

When the public transport workers saw all the taxi drivers hanging out, they got jealous and staged their own strike (waiting of course for the traditional Friday, because God forbid one strikes and then has to return to work the very next day!) It’s always fun the night before a general transport strike, AND a taxi strike. You basically have to try to rethink your entire day’s plans, unless you were already planning to stay home all day or walk everywhere. It’s better not to take a car because that’s the only way to get around. There was a stoppage in public transport, trains, and airlines. Many people just took a day off work. I had a lovely American couple staying in one of my apartments that was getting MARRIED that day. Luckily the place where they were having the ceremony was within walking distance, but how’s that for pre-wedding day jitters, eh? We were brainstorming the night before about what to do if the official couldn’t/didn’t make it to the site. (Everything went off without a hitch, but still…)

And the million dollar question is always: did the striking workers get what they wanted?

And the only response I can ever give is: BOH. (Who knows.)


7 Responses to “And You Thought Your Traffic Was Bad…”

  1. jessica in rome December 8, 2007 at 11:01 am #

    Yeah… this made for a interesting time getting to school 😦

  2. Judith in Umbria December 8, 2007 at 11:16 am #

    Let’s have an anti-poste iraliane strike! Come on, let’s, it would be so much fun and just as effective as these other ones. I recommend we OCCUPY the sorting rooms and see what’s happening to our stuff.

  3. anna l'americana December 8, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    Judith – that’s OK, because on that Friday, none of the postal workers made it into work because of the gridlock so no actual “work” was done at the Poste anyway (of course this differs from the solito day to day how?)!

    I remember Pzza Venezia always being blocked by either manifestazioni of one sort or another or if not, another sciopero, or just out and out rioting (ah, the 80s!)…I had to get through there to get to school from Trastevere to Via XX Settembre. I became extremely adept (either by vespa or Fiat 500 depending on which year) at getting through – developing a driving style that has almost landed me in jail here in the US – I had always thought of sidewalks as a “commuter lane”!!!!!

  4. nyc/caribbean ragazza December 8, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    I guess you can call it “gridlochissima”.

    I read that Times article. Could you imagine arriving at the airport that day as a tourist? 😦

  5. Rie December 9, 2007 at 1:02 am #

    *shakes head* It never ends. . . .

    Ciao, Shelley ^^ I came across your blog when looking up penne all’arrabbiata, I found the picture of la penna all’arrabbiata 😉 And now I’m addicted, going through your archives and missing Italy very much.

    Great job on your blog.

  6. Rachele January 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    i hate sciopero!!!!! theres no joke about thinking” hmmm…how am i getting to work,school,the hospital again?”….that was a major eye opener for me. I was thinking….how can a city run this way? cant someone hit them over the head and make them get back in the bus driver seat? My thought is that Italy needs to change this dumb rule of once you are hired by the city(or how ever it works)you cant be fired…..COME ON PEEPS….that is just setting the stage for this ” your not my boss” 5 yr. old kid attitude. But then again, i guess i dont know all of Italy’s laws.
    one the flip side,i have had some of my Italian friends tell me thatmy government( the American government) is fascist……boh…

  7. Jackie January 19, 2008 at 5:46 pm #

    Hi! New here-great blog! I was actually trying to gather donated gifts for three children’s homes my organization supports so I ended up walking through town on that day with a big sack full of presents whimpering to myself!!! Then later during the gas shortage I was again walking and riding the metro with two BIG bags full of gifts. Now someone just told me that a friend told them that a real befana was seen around in Rome!!!!!Could it be me? Or was someone else going through the same thing? Hilarious!!!!

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