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Eco-friendly tram on loan during Olympics

Another eco-friendly transit option — a free streetcar service — willbe available to commuters, visitors and competitors in the three monthsleading up to, during and after the 2010 Olympics.

Another eco-friendly transit option — a free streetcar service — will be available to commuters, visitors and competitors in the three months leading up to, during and after the 2010 Olympics.

Two of Bombardier’s Flexity trams have been loaned to Vancouver from Belgium and left for Canada during a special celebration in Brussels yesterday.

“They’ll be the best and latest in streetcar designs in Europe, which have won two design awards in Europe,” said Steve Hall, general manager for Bombardier Transportation, Western Canada.

“We’re trying to demonstrate to people in Vancouver what another transit option could be for the future.”

The trams will be running 18 hours a day between the Olympic Village and Granville Island along the Downtown Historic Railway track, as part of a streetcar demonstration between Bombardier and the City of Vancouver.

Service starts Jan. 21 and runs until March 21.

Hall said the streetcar model has been successful in nearby cities like Seattle, Portland and Tacoma, adding they’re bright and airy, quiet, eco-friendly, and appeal to peoples’ sense of nostalgia.

Speaking at the celebratory event in Brussels, André Navarri, president of Bombardier Transportion, said a renaissance in public transport is reviving the streetcar.

“Modern trams … are helping cities breathe once again by reducing pollution and congestion,” he said.

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