NEWS

Latest bus fire underscores problem of aging, ailing fleet

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A fire that broke out on a bus on northern Athens’s Mesogeion Avenue on Monday, at least the fourth incident of its kind in the past year, has drawn fresh attention to the advanced age and disrepair of capital’s urban bus fleet.

As an investigation got under way into the incident, the authority responsible for the capital’s buses and trolley buses, OSY, said on Monday that of its fleet of more than 2,000 buses, less than 950 are roadworthy as a result of budget cuts that have frozen orders for new parts over the past four years and taken a toll on maintenance crews.

The average age of OSY’s vehicles, meanwhile, is estimated at around 13 years, with the oldest acquired in 1993 and the newest in 2011. Just over 43 percent were made according to Euro II emission standards between 1998 and 2002.

OSY’s coverage of the transport needs of an estimated 400 million commutes a year has shrunk by around 30 percent over the past five years, according to workers.