Rome's buses catch fire

19 of Rome's ATAC buses go up in flames over last 12 months.

Consumer agency Codacons has called for a investigation by the public prosecutor into the "mystery of Rome's buses going up in flames", following the latest incident of an ATAC city bus catching fire while in service.

An internal investigation into the "dangerously frequent" phenomenon is “not enough”, according to Codacons president Carlo Rienzi, who made his remarks after a bus operated by Rome public transport company ATAC caught fire suddenly on 26 March.

There were no injuries reported as the bus driver managed to evacuate all passengers before the vehicle was engulfed in flames on Via Tuscolana.

It was the fourth such incident since the beginning of March, the seventh since the start of 2017. A total of 19 ATAC buses have caught fire while in service over the past 12 months, with factors believed to include poor maintenance, budget constraints and an ageing fleet.

ATAC director Manuele Fantasia said there were plans in place to retrofit around 400 buses with automatic shutdown systems in case of fire, according to Italian news agency ANSA.