As the Principality continues to struggle with the problem of road congestion, particularly during peak commuting periods, the subject of a maritime shuttle was raised once again during a budget debate at the National Council.

It appears that the project has now been placed on the back burner, as the ‘green’ technology needed for an environmentally-friendly ferry service between Nice and Monaco isn’t advanced enough.

Minister of Infrastructure, Urban Planning and the Environment Céline Caron-Dagioni told National Council members that there has been no new call for tenders from prospective operators of the shuttle as the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis now wants a hydrogen-fuelled service. However, the technology is not far enough advanced to make it viable. She promised Members that the Government remains in regular contact with the neighbouring jurisdiction.

When one Member suggested that Monaco might go it alone on the project, the Minister claimed that this would not be possible as there would need to be a cross-border agreement to put the service in place.

The debate was effectively closed down when Ms Caron-Dagioni said: “One of the criteria of the call for tenders is to offer more neutral transport, in any case environmentally responsible. Indeed, hydrogen shuttles are starting to be industrialised but it is still emerging. At the same time, we are not giving up on electric shuttles. For the moment, no solution has emerged.”

FILE PHOTO: A vessel used in the Var to take visitor on trips to nearby islands