People Mover moves out (sort of).

IMG_4028.jpgThe long-heralded People Mover was inaugurated on Monday, amidst considerable fanfare. Here, at last, was a convenient, comfortable tram that would connect Tronchetto, the Isle of Parking, with Piazzale Roma, the last stop for wheeled motor traffic before entering Venice proper.

Until Monday, the means to get from one place to the other was limited to bus number 6/ (every twenty minutes), a water or land taxi, vaporetto Line 2, or on foot (for the truly fit, especially with luggage). And the Marittima port? The 6/ stops there (or, in front of the entrance to it), and there are secret, private motor coaches run by the various cruise companies, about which there is so little information that most cruise passengers don’t even know they exist.

It would be People Mover to the rescue however, regularly easing thousands of travelers comfortably into the Piazzale three car-fulls at a time, where they could then pick up the vaporetto, taxi or bridge or their choosing. Or, that’s what we assumed.

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pm_vista.jpgIt’s true, the tram is running, and its spacious, climate-controlled, silent electronic cars loft frequently over the Santa Marta canal and wholesale fish market on their pilgrimage to Tronchetto and back — sliding right by the Marittima port stop. For reasons unknown to us all, the port doesn’t seem to be in any rush to make the second stop on the People Mover tram accessible to their passengers. Peering down from the tram stop (with its pristine platforms, elevators, and escalators to nowhere) as the train floats by, you can spy some activity among workmen below, but it’s clear that the wasteland between the port entrance and the tram itself will take some time to tame. And when it is finally complete, it won’t be, shall we say, exceptionally handy.

pm_portoaccesso.jpg“Six months,” said one operator when asked how long til completion, which means nine, months minimum…well after a whole season of cruise travelers will have come and gone. For whatever reason, the port was unable to coordinate the landscaping of the tram access to the time of its opening. Not enough advance notice? Lack of permessi? Lack of (fill in the blank)? With as much power as the port wields in the tiny, infinitely famous town, that doesn’t seem logical. Add one more item to list of Things We Don’t Quite Comprehend About Venice.

The People Mover should prove some relief to pendolari who travel regularly to and from Venice by car, who’ll also be able to purchase monthly passes. To get to or from Tronchetto yourself, you can catch the tram after purchasing a 1€ ticket from the machine at the entrances, either on the Tronchetto end or at the Piazzale Roma entrance, located in the corner right next to the Baggage Deposit and the Pullman Bar (see the turquoise marker in the lower-left corner).

In the meantime, for you cruise passengers: arrangiatevi: you’ll just have to make do with current options.

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