Political finger-pointing in wake of Budapest subway fire

July 16, 2014


A Budapest subway fire closed stations between Deak Ferenc tér and Arpad híd for several hours on Tuesday

Ágnes Kunhalmi of the Hungarian Socialist Party accused Budapest Mayor István Tarlós of playing “Russian roulette” with the city’s commuters after a stretch of metro line three was shut down due to a fire on Tuesday afternoon. Speaking as the Socialists launched a petition drive to demand a revamp of Budapest’s ‘blue metro’ line, Kunhalmi accused Tarlós of issuing contradictory statements about the condition of the line, which was completed in 1976.

Tarlós said the Socialists should be quiet about M3. For the twenty years up to 2010  the party “had done nothing with the line”, he said.

The Socialists’ Budapest council leader, Csaba Horváth, claimed that preparations to start the metro three revamp immediately after the fourth metro line had been completed were already in place before 2010, when Tarlós gained power. “However, currently only some inadequate maintenance work is being done,” Horváth said, adding that “the plan to put Budapest transport company BKV into the hands of the city council will not solve any technical problems.”

The stations between Deák Ferenc tér and Árpád híd were closed for several hours due to a patch of burning oil between Nyugati tér and Lehel tér. City Hall said safety officers had used a powder to extinguish the fire, and no injuries had been reported.

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