Romans have their say on breakdown-prone mass transit agency

ROME (AP) — Romans are having their say at the ballot box on their breakdown-prone, strike-plagued mass transit agency.

They are voting in a referendum Sunday on whether the ATAC agency should be privatized in a bid to deliver better service.

In recent years, several buses have caught fire or many buses didn’t make scheduled runs because of breakdowns. Cash-strapped ATAC is often late on paying suppliers for spare parts. Subway cars are frequently overcrowded.

Drivers often strike to protest rule changes, such as more efficient schedules.

Ridership has decreased as many prefer motorbikes or bicycles to ATAC’s vehicles.

Decades of mismanagement and corruption scandals have also taken their toll on ATAC.

Whatever the referendum’s outcome, the result is non-binding. The city may decide to keep ATAC as a completely publicly-held company.

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