Rome: Buses explode due to lack of maintenance
15 May 2018
Last week two Atac company transport buses caught fire and exploded in Italy’s capital city of Rome.
The first fire happened when sparks began to fly in the back of a bus packed with tourists en route through the historical centre of Rome. The driver quickly escorted passengers off as the bus caught fire and exploded, causing serious damage to nearby shops and sending one shopkeeper to hospital. The bus was completely destroyed by the fire.
Later in the day, a second bus carrying school children in the southwestern Rome suburb of Castel Porziano caught fire.
Last year, 22 buses were destroyed by fire—all caused by lack of proper maintenance—and 2017 is already on track to being far worse, with four bus fires in a single month. All of this year’s fires are believed to be caused by lack of maintenance in a fleet that is overwhelmingly beyond its life expectancy.
Using the hashtag #flambus, which rhymes with Tambus, Atac’s former name, Romans took to Twitter to condemn Atac, with many saying that in Rome when a bus explodes people immediately blame Atac, with no thought whatsoever about terrorism.
According to an internal Atac report, at any given time, 36 percent of the company’s buses are broken down and undergoing maintenance. Currently, 50 percent of the city’s trams are also offline for maintenance.
For years Atac, as with all of Rome’s public services, has been the target of a relentless campaign of vilification aimed at placing responsibility for Rome’s budget crisis on the agency, or, more correctly, on its workers, often portrayed as inefficient, lazy and guilty of absenteeism.
Contrary to the common mantra echoed by the servile media that workers as well as inept…