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Why is Rome's public transport on strike?

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Why is Rome's public transport on strike?
It could be a long wait for a bus today. Photo: Filippoe Monteforte/AFP
11:48 CEST+02:00
Head down to Rome's metro today and you won't find anything running. Here's what you need to know about the latest public transport strike.

What's going on?

Rome's public transport company Atac has called a 24-hour strike today, Tuesday, on its buses, metro, trams and light rail services.

Expect cancellations, severe delays and bad tempers, as well as longer waits for taxis and heavier than usual traffic.

Is anything running?

Yes, but slowly. According to the latest updates, here's the travel situation:

  • Metro A: not running
  • Metro B: reduced service
  • Metro C: not running
  • All buses and trams: reduced service with possible cancellations or suspension of routes
  • Trains between Rome and Lido d'Ostia: not running
  • Trains between Rome and Viterbo: reduced service
  • Tram from Termini to Centocelle: reduced service

For the latest information, check Atac or Muoversi a Roma on Twitter.


Cramming onto a bus in Piazza Venezia. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

What if I need to catch a long-distance train or a flight?

The strike only affects Atac services: overground trains run by Trenitalia, including the Leonardo Express to Fiumincino Airport, are operating as usual, as are the private bus services to and from Rome's airports.

Urban buses operated by TPL and Cotral, including Cotral's services to Fiumincino and main train stations Termini and Tiburtina, are not affected either.

Rome has also suspended its usual restrictions on driving in the city centre for the day, meaning that private vehicles will be able to drive through parts of town that are usually off-limits.

But of course, make sure you allow some extra time to get to the station or airport. And then double it.

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How long will it last?

The strike started at 8:30 am and will go until close of service on Tuesday night.

But there will be a break at rush hour from 5-8 pm, during which time services are supposed to operate as normal (though you can expect a certain amount of disruption).

Why is Atac on strike?

This strike was called to protest the health and safety conditions of Atac staff, who say they're forced to work in dangerous conditions. 

Unions complain that several employees have been attacked on the job, while they claim that the amount of fine dust polluting metro stations is several times the safe level and a health risk to workers and passengers alike.


Unions say Rome's Metro stations are a health hazard. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Any other disruptions to know about?

"Normal service" is a low bar in Rome, and there'll be a certain level of disruption throughout the summer months.

To coincide with the school holidays and the period when many Romans take off, Atac has planned lengthy engineering works on the Metro Line A between June and the end of August. Parts of the line are already closed off at weekends and, from August 4-26, the central sections that pass by the Vatican, the Spanish Steps and Termini train station will be shut for days at a time. Find the schedule of closures here.

Meanwhile Barberini and Repubblica stations on the Line A remain closed for repair works.

 

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