How will Italy’s Friday public transport strike affect travel?

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How will Italy’s Friday public transport strike affect travel?
Bus, metro and tram passengers may face disruption to services in Rome on the morning of Monday, January 16th. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO/AFP

Italian public transport workers’ unions have called an eight-hour strike for Friday, September 16th. Here’s a look at when and where disruption is likely.


Disruption to many local transport services is expected on Friday after Italian trade unions confirmed transport staff will strike over safety fears following a series of physical assaults on public transport staff in recent weeks.

The timing and severity of disruption to public transport services is expected to vary by city and transport company.

Here’s a look at what's expected so far:


The strike is set to affect the entire Italian public transport sector, according to news reports on Thursday, as staff at local public transport companies as well as those working for some national operators will stop work for at least part of the day on Friday.

Under Italian law, some services must always be guaranteed to run at peak hours on weekdays, meaning the disruption caused by strike action is usually limited.

The protected timeslots are usually from the start of the service until 8.45am and then from 4pm to 6 or 7pm, though the exact timeframes again vary by city.

Buses, trams and metro in Milan will be affected by the strike between 8.45am and 3pm, said the city's public transport provider ATM.

All public transport services in Rome, including buses and metro trains, will stop between 8.30am and 4.30pm, according to local news reports.

In Venice, staff from the ACTV public transport company plan to participate in the strike between 4pm and midnight, with a "minimum number" of services guaranteed to run between 4.30 and 7.30pm.

In Naples, public transport staff plan to strike between 9am and 5pm, affecting all services including buses and metro, according to reports.

Staff at northern regional rail operator Trenord are also expected to strike for around six hours, between 9am and 3pm.

Reports said the strike will not affect national rail operator Trenitalia, which runs many of Italy's local and intercity services as well as high-speed 'Frecce' trains.

Passengers are always advised to check the status of their journey with their public transport operator before setting off. 

In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation or a refund should a scheduled trip be significantly delayed or cancelled due to the strikes.


Why are public transport staff striking?

As with last Friday's rail strike, unions are again demanding improved security for drivers and inspectors at work following a series of violent incidents.

There have been at least 17 reports of attacks on public transport staff in Italy over the past three months, most recently including an incident in which a passenger headbutted a member of staff at a metro station in Milan after climbing over the turnstiles.

At the end of last month, in the province of Pavia (Lombardy), a bus driver was hospitalised after being assaulted by a passenger who had been caught smoking on board.  

More recently, another bus driver, this time near Arezzo (Tuscany), was spat at after asking a passenger to put a muzzle on their dog.

"It is becoming normal to read news about a driver or a station attendant being beaten, amid the indifference of companies and institutions," read the strike announcement from unions on Tuesday.

Unions slammed an “intolerable” failure of companies to protect staff from assault, saying further strikes could be expected if their demands for improved security were not met.


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