A ban on large coach vehicles in the city center of Reykjavik will take effect July 1. Vehicles designed for more than eight passengers, will be prohibited from driving in certain parts of downtown Reykjavík.
The ban includes mountain trucks used by tourism companies for trips to the Icelandic highlands. Many such trip packages are sold including pick-up and drop-off at tourist accommodations in the city center.Kristján G. Kristjánsson, chairman of the company FETAR (The Association for Owners of All-Terrain Vehicles in Business) and co-owner of the tourism company Mountain Taxi, tells Vísir that such a ban will have serious consequences for the tourism business, as well as hotel operators.
The decision by the City of Reykjavík to limit the traffic of large vehicles downtown follows a trend in many countries all over the world, where city authorities have plans to substantially limit traffic in central areas.
Kristján envisions the ban only resulting in more chaos and inconvenience for tourists to the city: “You can envision hundreds of people, dragging their bags behind them in a blinding snowstorm in the middle of the winter, on their way to be picked up at a collection point.”
He criticizes the municipality for not having properly consulted with those in the business in order to reach a compromise. Though many of the mountain trucks affected have room for fewer passengers than taxis, only taxis will be allowed in the area. Should luxury mountain trip companies not be able to pick up their customers at their accommodations, he argues, they will be forced to concentrate their business to accommodations outside of the ban area.
“If people experience that those living in the city do not want tourists, then they won’t want to be there”, Kristján adds.