An investigation into conditions on an intercity bus on Cyprus that passengers said was so dirty they couldn’t see out the windows was ordered after it broke down on a highway and caught fire.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos ordered the probe after social media reports showed how serious the situation was and passengers complaining about how “filthy” and decrepit the vehicle was.
“As soon as the incident came to the attention of the minister, instructions were given so that both this bus and the other buses of the same company are subjected to a technical inspection by the department of road transport, in order to establish their technical suitability,” a ministry statement said.
“If it is found that they are circulating without complying with the necessary specifications, actions will be taken to withdraw them, as well as attributing responsibility,” it added, said The Cyprus Mail in a report.
Images posted on social media showed the bus broken down on the side of the road with chewing gum stuck on window frames, parts of the floor stuck together with duct tape and broken air conditioning outlets.
One Facebook user wrote that they had duly put on their mask, paid their ticket and sat down for the journey from Nicosia to Limassol and found themselves in what amounted to a sewer-like bus.
“The bus is so dirty, so messy, so broken that I really wondered if it would finally manage to take us to our destination. During the trip I realised that the air conditioning did not work either. Meanwhile wires were hanging from the ceiling, curtains were torn, chewing gum stuck everywhere, and from the windows you could hardly see outside,” they wrote.
After the bus stopped at the Alambra station and headed out from there, passengers realized something smelled bad and the engine did not sound normal, the report said of how dangerous it was.
“Seconds later we heard an explosion just behind us and smoke was entering the cabin. We stopped on the side of the highway and ran in panic to get off… people, soldiers, immigrants… a woman with a two-year-old child…”
They said they had to wait 55 minutes by the side of the road for another bus to pick them up, the report added, the ministry apologizing to them. It wasn’t said if there any tourists on the bus as the government is trying to lure more during the COVID-19 pandemic to spur a recovery.