WATCH: Spate of blazing buses prompt ‘special measures’ in Madrid

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MADRID’S city hall owned public transport company is to hire 220 new maintenance staff after a series of fires in its ageing bus fleet.

So far this year there have been nine incidents with two in the last week.

In the most recent cases a 14-year-old vehicle caught fire on Avenida Cardenal Herrera Oria while a 12-year-old bus caught fire on Calle Velázquez.

There were no injuries or loss of property for passengers on either occasion.

Since 2012 some 45 buses have caught fire, an average of nine per year.  A number that  has already been surpassed this year.

The UGT trade union has generally praised the move but also said it is essential for the city hall to speed up the purchase of new buses. 

The average age of the Madrid bus fleet is currently 8.3 years but plans are in place to reduce this to 6.6 years.

The transport company also plans  to incorporate automatic extinguishers in the whole fleet. Just nine buses currently have such a system fitted.

EMT report the most common causes of the fires are short circuits and problems with the vehicle’s alternator or catalytic converter.

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