A desperate passenger feels forced to set his coat on fire, throwing it onto the tracks to exterminate train bedbugs. In a recent journey of the Euronight Train from Nizza to Naples, 150 angry passengers complained about the thousands of bedbugs infesting several of the train’s coaches. In order to prove their point several passengers collected the bugs (originally thought to be ticks) in water bottles to show to train personnel. The train was stopped at the Genova station where several coaches were later isolated on one of the station’s dead tracks. Two other cars were simply closed-off and continued empty for the remainder of the journey.
Fifteen passengers, under shock, refused to continue their trip on the same Intercity train. According to Trenitalia, the bedbugs originated in France. In addition to the hypothesis of low standards of cleanliness, investigators are also considering the possibility of sabotage. Police are investigating whether tension amongst employees over Trenitalia’s refusal to renew contracts may have provoked violent reactions from employees.
With regards to cleanliness, the railways have declared that 2,800 cars used for long and medium runs have recently received a clean bill from hygiene specialists. Although Trenitalia confirms that five thousand coaches were disinfected from September 1 to 23, this is the fourth case of passenger protests against insect infestation, particularly during long-distance runs. The CUB train workers
union claimed the infestations were the result of cutbacks in cleaning crews — from seven to
three people. In response to the latest protest Trenitalia states, “Trains won’t be allowed to leave
stations if they don’t reach a certain standard of cleanliness.”