Tenth bus catches fire in Rome this year as pressure mounts on Italian capital's mayor

Latest blazes thought to have been caused by mechanical problems, after 20 buses caught fire last year

Wednesday 09 May 2018 16:16
Comments
Public transport bus bursts into flames in central Rome

Two passenger buses in Rome have caught fire, one of which exploded, bringing the total number of vehicles destroyed in the Italian capital this year to 10.

The latest blazes, on Tuesday, are believed to have been caused by mechanical problems.

Both drivers managed to escape with their passengers unscathed, although a woman who worked in a shop near one of the buses suffered minor burns.

The number 63 bus came to a halt near the Trevi Fountain, a popular tourist attraction, before the fire took hold.

Video showed flames from the vehicle, owned by Rome’s transport authority, Atac, shooting into the sky while the facades of the two nearest buildings were left smeared with black soot.

Less than four hours later an Atac school bus caught fire in a southern suburb.

Politicians were quick to blame Mayor Virginia Raggi and her party, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, for the series of fires, saying it showed they were incapable of governing Rome.

“Romans risk getting hurt every day with this Five Star administration,” said Barbara Saltamartini, a member of the far-right League party.

“These images are being seen around the world and they are the latest images of Raggi’s failure.”

Some 20 buses operated by the company caught fire in 2017.

Five Star says it inherited a transport system that was mired in debt and dragged down by poor management and that it is working hard to overcome numerous long-standing problems.

The fires have become such a common occurrence that a regular hashtag, #Flambus, has trended after each incident.

Italian media blames the succession of blazes on an ageing fleet and poor maintenance from Atac.

The company has suffocated under €1.3bn (£1.14bn) of debts and should declare bankruptcy, according to its former chief.

Around a third of the company’s buses are in garages because they have broken down or are undergoing maintenance, according to an internal Atac report.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in