Gondoliers face random drug and alcohol tests

Venice reacts after applicant 'hazed' in canal strip-and-swim

Gondoliers face random drug and alcohol tests

Venice, July 4 - Venice's famed gondoliers may soon have to undergo regular drug and alcohol testing after a series of complaints about their recent behavior and questionable sobriety. The president of the gondoliers' association, Nicola Falconi, is putting the proposal before council meeting Monday. He told ANSA the tests should be applied to all transport operators in the lagoon city. "From water-bus drivers to ship hands," he said. "Given that the complaints are rising, I called the meeting to propose the tests, which could also be random. "We don't know if (the idea) is doable, but at least we're trying to face an ever-mounting problem. The move is said to come in response to a video posted last week on YouTube of a group of gondoliers allegedly hazing an aspiring assistant by forcing him to strip off his clothes and swim in a canal off St Mark's Square in order to get the job. Alcohol is suspected to have been involved.

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