City centre service suspended over lack of batteries
Rome's transport company ATAC has suspended its fleet of electric buses that pass through the city centre's maze of winding streets.
The buses affected are the 116, 117, 119 and 125 which operate in areas of Rome unnavigable by larger buses such as Piazza di Spagna, Via del Corso, Trastevere and Monti.
Their suspension on 31 March came without advance warning, apart from some notices pasted to bus stops and a mention on the Muoversi a Roma website, which provides commuters with a guide to finding alternative means of transport in the city centre.
Rome newspaper Il Messaggero reports that the suspension of the electric buses is over a disagreement between ATAC and Tecnobus – the company that services the vehicles – over which of them is responsible for replacing the batteries whose untimely deterioration comes just three years into a five-year contract.
Out of the fleet of 60 electric buses, which cost €200,000 each and were paid for with European funds, only 26 were running at the start of March according to Il Messaggero.