Probe opened after public bus burns to a cinder on Paris street

A blaze destroyed a Paris bus on Tuesday and left plumes of black smoke rising over part of the city center. An investigation has been opened.

Probe opened after public bus burns to a cinder on Paris street
Photo: Kenneth Maussang/Twitter

The number 63 bus caught fire at around 9am on Rue des Ecles in the fifth arrondissement of the French capital, shortly after the driver had noted a problem.

He asked the passengers to exit the vehicle before the blaze took hold. No one was injured in the incident but the blaze caused major traffic disruption at rush hour.

Police cordoned off the area around Rues Monge, Rue des Ecoles and Rue Cardinal-Lemoine as a thick cloud of black smoke engulfed the area. Firefighters were called and the flames were under control by around 10am. Residents in nearby flats were told to leave their apartments.

“We heard two mini explosions,” the mayor of the 5th arrondissement Florence Berthout told Le Parisien newspaper. “The driver showed an extraordinarily cool head. He managed to get thirty passengers off the bus in record time.

“As for the bus, there's nothing left but the metal shell. it's impressive,” said the mayor.

But the mayor wants to know why a bus was able to catch alight and burn so quickly.

“There could have been tragic consequences,” said the mayor. “I demand an investigation be opened.”

Paris transport chiefs RATP confirmed that a probe would be opened and that the driver would be interviewed by police.


Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro