Why do Rome's buses keep catching fire?

Media captionThe bus caught fire on the Via del Tritone

A public bus engulfed in flames in a European capital city – but no one in Rome thought to blame terrorism.

Instead they wearily pointed the finger at the city’s beleaguered transport authority, Atac.

The blaze on the number 63 bus, which happened on the busy Via del Tritone shopping street in the city centre on Tuesday, was the ninth this year and follows 22 more last year.

So frequent have the fireballs become that they have their own social media hashtag #flambus (which rhymes with Trambus, Atac’s previous name).

“Only in Rome does a bus explode in the heart of the city and people immediately blame Atac, with no thought of terrorism. It says a lot about our emergencies,” said journalist Raffaella Menichini on social media.

Atac blamed an ageing fleet and said the number of incidents was down on last year.

How dangerous are the fires?

In its statement, Atac said no passengers had been hurt. But local media reported that a shop assistant working in a store near where the bus caught fire had been taken to hospital suffering from a burn to the arm and shock.

No passengers have been hurt in previous fires either, local reports say. But observers fear that it is only a matter of time before there are victims.

“Every day…

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