Driverless bus hits car in central Rome

Photo tweeted by Il Messaggero

ROME - A line 46 city bus with no one at the wheel hit a Smart car yesterday at around 16:30 on Piazza Venezia. It rolled some 50 metres, knocking down a road sign and mounting a pavement before colliding into the left side of the small vehicle in the middle of the busy roundabout. 


 The driver of the automobile was injured and was immediately taken to the emergency room, the incident being reported by ATAC (Azienda per i Trasporti Autoferrotranviari del Comune di Roma), Rome’s main public transport company. Fortunately she has not been seriously harmed.


 One passenger was aboard the bus but he was not wounded.


 ATAC has posted a press release on its website, stating that “A bus whose engine was switched off, without a driver on board, for reasons still to be clarified, began to move and slightly bumped into a car at the traffic lights.” 


 The company has “initiated with immediate effect an internal investigation to ascertain the causes behind the accident.” 


 Possible reasons include human error; the driver forgetting to pull the hand brake, but it could also be that the said brake was was faulty and disconnected on its own. 


 Claudio de Francesco, regional secretary of Faisa Confail, Lazio’s public transport trade union, blamed the malfunctioning of the vehicle: “ATAC has zero safety. Now we wonder if the maintenance really works”. “Rome is in a state of shame.” he continued.