They won’t be ready to ride until 2014, but for one day at least the TTC unveiled the first of the new sleek modern light rail vehicles to replace the city’s aging streetcar fleet.
Representatives from all three levels of government were on hand at a press conference this week at the TTC’s Hillcrest complex to tour the new streetcar.
The new low-floor Bombardier LRVs will be 25 feet longer than their articulated predecessors, allowing for 68 more passengers. The interior of the vehicle will contain no steps, allowing riders with mobility issues to board with ease according to a fact sheet provided by the TTC.
The new vehicles, which have a top speed of 70 kilometres-per-hour, are fully air-conditioned and provide space for bicycles as well as designated areas for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said the new streetcars will run on the Presto fare system. Each vehicle will have Presto card readers riders can tap, as well as two automated ticket dispensers which will issue receipts that double as transfers.
Having a proof of payment system (POP) in place will improve service and reliability, said Ross.
“The vehicle can now move off more quickly from a stop so that the vehicle behind doesn’t catch up, and that’s when we get into situations like bunching and gapping,” said Ross on Nov. 15.
It will still be over one year before the public will get a chance to ride the new streetcar, but Ross said the TTC will make the test model it unveiled this week available for people to board. He said the vehicle will be on the streets in 2013 - but only for testing purposes.
If all goes well, the new vehicles could be in service in early-2014, but nothing is confirmed as of yet, said Ross.
He said both the 510 Spadina and the 504 King routes could be the first lines the new streetcars run on, which are expected to run on all 11 of the city’s existing streetcar lines.
Of the $1.2-billion price tag for the cars, two-thirds of the cost will be covered by the city and the TTC while the remaining third comes from the province. The TTC has also allocated a share of the federal gas tax fund - $108-million - toward the order of 204 vehicles to be manufactured at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant.