Vespa (which means “wasp” in Italian) scooters are an international symbol of Made in Italy style and design. The scooter was invented in 1947 as a low cost alternative to the automobile in war-ravaged Europe. Genoa, the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy, is birthplace of the iconic two-wheeler.
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The move, though made in a bid to tackle pollution, has not been well received by the local residents who have created such an outrage that the mayor has been forced to postpone it till later this year.
Genoa’s mayor Marco Doria had signed off an anti-smog initiative in December last year, and as part of that initiative, the ban was due to come into force in February.
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The initiative was to ban these two-wheeler, from 7am to 7pm in large areas of the city centre.
But the 12 hours ban daily was not met by the riders well and it sparked off such a huge backlash that the move was suspended till April so as to give people time to arrange for an alternative mode of transport.
Talking about the ban, Vittorio Vernazzano of the Vespa Club Genova had said:
‘This really shouldn’t be happening, especially not in 2016, the 70th anniversary of the birth of the Vespa, and in Genoa, where it was produced in 1946 by a Genovese entrepreneur, Enrico Piaggio.”
Unlike Delhi, Genova has fewer number of cars than any other city in Italy (apart from Venice, where the main mode of transport is boat or gondola.) Also according to pro-Vespa campaigners, the public transport services in the city is poor and people would thus be left stranded by the ban.
Even with the above reasons are valid, environment assessor Italo Porcile is determined not to give in to the pressure and says people’s health is more than convenience. He further reasons that they are only banning models produced before 1999.
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Talking about the ban, Porcile said:
‘I love the Vespino, I used to have one myself, but the ‘Euro 0′ (a model produced before 1999) pollutes terribly and public health is more important’.