An external view of the 'Ospedale dell'Angelo'' hospital in Mestre, near Venice, Italy. EPA-EFE/MARCO ALBERTINI


Venice mayor suspends electric bus service after two accidents


Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced a ban on La Linea’s electric buses following two accidents involving its vehicles, one of which resulted in the deaths of 21 people.

The decision came after a La Linea bus collided with a building in Mestre, a Venice suburb, on the evening of October 14, injuring 15 people. Other than the driver, all the injured were discharged from hospital the same day, local press reported.

The crash followed another accident on October 3 in which an electric bus left a bridge, killing 21 people.

Such vehicles have been widely introduced in the city in a push to promote sustainable transport.

The accidents have caused concern regarding passenger safety.

Authorities are now investigating the latest collision to determine if there was a mechanical failure of the bus.

After the incident on October 3, Brugnaro insisted there was no need to rethink the city’s plans to increase the number of electric buses in the city’s fleet. He said the reason the bus came off the bridge had “nothing to do with the fact that it is electric”.

Despite that, he later said the use of all such electric buses has been suspended to enable “an adequate investigation”.

He said of the latest incident: “In the meantime, my thoughts turn to the injured, among whom, fortunately, none are in serious condition.

“The competent authorities will understand the reason for this accident, which did not have serious consequences for people.”

The mayor went on to say that the suspension of the electric fleet was “absolutely necessary” at this point.

La Linea stated that “no technical problems have arisen or been found on the vehicle, which is also of very recent production” and that it has launched an internal investigation.

It attributed the latest collision to the driver having been taken ill at the wheel, as was previously stated.

Two municipal officials responsible for the maintenance of Venice’s bridges and roads are under investigation.