La RATP announced on Friday 29 April that it was temporarily withdrawing from circulation, “as a precaution”, 149 electric buses, i.e. a third of its fleet of electric buses, after a second fire in a month in Paris of such a vehicle, which happened in the morning.
“With regard to the second fire on a recent electric bus of the same Bluebus 5SE series of the Bolloré brand in less than a month, the RATP took the decision, as a precautionary measure, in conjunction with Île-de-France Mobilités, to temporarily withdraw the 149 electric buses in this series from operation,” she said in a press release. An electric bus on line 71 caught fire around 8:05 a.m. Friday near the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand stop, in the 13and capital district.
“The bus driver immediately evacuated the passengers. There are no injuries”, according to the management, which specifies, in the press release, that “the machinist was taken care of by his management”. This withdrawal, the time of the investigation, “is the most reasonable choice, to ensure that there is no similar failure on other vehicles”, reacted the Ministry of Transport. “We are in contact with the RATP, and we will follow the results of the investigation carefully,” added a spokesperson.
The Île-de-France Mobilités regional transport authority, chaired by Valérie Pécresse, immediately asked the RATP to shed “all the light” on these fires “and to take all the necessary precautionary measures”, according to a door- word. Describing the incident as “worrying”, the Association of transport users / FNAUT Île-de-France also called in a tweet for “rapid corrective actions on the part of the manufacturer”.
Disruptions on several lines to be expected
“The RATP has requested a complete expertise from the manufacturer Bolloré in order to explain the causes of these incidents and propose an action plan to allow these buses to be put back into operation in complete safety”, reassured the management, which specifies operate since 2016 nearly 500 electric buses, from three different manufacturers, “without major incident” so far.
On Friday morning, the fire gave off thick black smoke and a strong smell of burnt plastic, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse. Thirty firefighters and fifteen machines were dispatched to put out the fire, according to the Paris firefighters. “The firefighters intervened very quickly,” confirmed the RATP, “and, as a safety measure, the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand station, located nearby, was closed from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. “.
The impromptu withdrawal of the 149 buses “could cause disruption on some bus lines during the day”, she added, specifying that “buses will be redispatched between the different centers” to limit the disruption.
In Carcassonne, an electric bus also caught fire, causing the interruption of SNCF traffic
An electric bus without passengers also caught fire on Friday April 29 at an SNCF bridge in Carcassonne (Aude) without causing any casualties, causing the interruption of rail traffic between Narbonne and Toulouse, we learned from concordant sources. . “It was a bus without passengers, used for tests”, indicated to AFP the prefecture of Aude, specifying that the driver had deviated from its trajectory and “hooked a bridge in order to avoid a vehicle”. “It was its lithium battery that caught fire,” according to the same source.
About fifty firefighters were mobilized to put out the fire which broke out around 9 a.m. At noon, he was “circumscribed”, according to the SDIS of Aude. “There were no injuries, apart from the driver who first tried to put out the flames and was bothered by the fumes,” said the firefighters. The SNCF for its part announced the interruption of rail traffic on the Toulouse-Narbonne axis. “The intervention of the teams on site is longer than expected. The resumption is announced from 3 p.m. ”, tweeted at the end of the morning liO Train SNCF Occitanie.
According to the local daily The Independent, the bus that caught fire is believed to be Atak. At the same time, the RATP indicated that it was temporarily withdrawing from circulation “as a precautionary measure” 149 electric buses, after two fires in one month of buses of the “Bluebus 5SE series of the Bolloré brand” in Paris.