«Asian invasion driving Lisbon locals to despair»
Locals who live in and around some of the capital’s most popular tourist areas, such as Alfama, the Castle, the Baixa Pombalina and Portas do Sol, have complained about the apparently growing number of Tuk Tuk taxis that ferry tourists around the city’s cobblestone streets.
A report by newspaper Público this week shed light on how unregulated the activity seems, claiming neither Lisbon Council nor the Portuguese Tourist Board know exactly how many of the vehicles are operating in the city.
A number of locals, councillors and taxi drivers have voiced complaints in recent times about the three-wheel motorised tricycles, bemoaning the noise they make as well as the smoke and smell they leave behind, but also about how they haphazardly park on pavements and bends as well as in front of parking bays, lingering long enough for their tourist passengers to take pictures of the city’s monuments.
Speaking to Público, the Mayor of the Parish of Santa Maria Maior said that while the activity is an “interesting” one for tourists and for the economy, “it is completely unregulated.”
“They take up public space in a very disorganised way, they park on pavements, they push in everywhere, they limit traffic circulation on narrow roads and they make noise” Mayor Miguel Coelho complained, adding: “There is the perception that there are too many Tuk Tuks”.
In the Mayor’s opinion a cap should be placed on how many can operate in the city “to safeguard residents’ quality of life.”
According to Publico Lisbon Council is drawing up a set of rules with which it wants to define circuits and stops for the vehicles. in Portugal News online, IN REGIONAL · 21-08-2014