If you plan on seeing Rome on a tour bus, you better do it soon, because come 2019, the city will limit where tour buses can go, and how many can go through the city centre.
The new regulation is Roma Mobilità‘s, the city’s transport department, answer to curbing over-tourism, but many tour operators fear that touring companies – many of whom use tour buses around cities – will take a hit.
According to Skift, the city is creating three different bus zones within the city centre with different time restrictions – easing congestion by reducing tour buses in its ancient city centre in particular.
However, Zones A, B and C cover a ton of popular tourist attractions. Zone A and B allow tour buses and include Vatican City and other outlying areas in Rome. But Zone C, which covers most of the ancient city centre and tourist hotspots like the Colosseum and Pantheon, will be off limits to buses every day.
The regulation was actually challenged in Rome’s Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio court, a regional administrative justice court, as per Skift, but on October 12, the court ruled in the city’s favour.
The regulation will take effect in 2019 – and in a statement, Roma Mobilità said it would help “reduce pollution and enforce orderly traffic management.”
Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, has added that she supports the decision and that it should also help reduce carbon emissions in Rome.
“This is an expected and important decision, which rewards the goodness of our provision and the work done by my administration,” Raggi said.
“We have, for the first time, approved a series of rigorous rules to protect monuments and valuable areas, to counteract pollution, and to increase road safety. Starting in January, we will have safer roads and a more liveable city.”
But Collette, who run 17 Italy itineraries, told Skift the regulation will have a negative effect on themselves, and other touring companies, in Italy.
“The guests inevitably will bear the burden of changes and costs and this taints the overall travel experience,” said Paula Twidale, executive vice president of Collette.
“If tour prices become too expensive, the guests will spend their money in other destinations instead of Rome.”
The regulations will come into effect on January 1, 2019.