Today, in a celebratory event hosted by the Brussels Transport Company STIB (Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles), two FLEXITY trams marked their departure for Vancouver, Canada, where they will operate in a unique streetcar demonstration project during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The 32-metre long vehicles will be transported to Bremerhaven, Germany, where they will start their voyage across the high seas. Travelling through the Panama Canal, the award-winning vehicles are scheduled to arrive in Vancouver in early December 2009.
Bombardier Transportation and the City of Vancouver are co-sponsors of the Olympic Line project. This sponsorship is complementary to Bombardier’s role as an Official Supporter of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and designer/ manufacturer of the Olympic torches.
The FLEXITY trams will provide free passenger service between the Olympic and Paralympic Village and Granville Island, a key entertainment centre for the 2010 Winter Games. From January 21 until March 21, 2010, Bombardier will operate the FLEXITY vehicles 7 days a week, 18 hours a day, at 6 to 7 minutes headway on the 1.8-km Olympic Line. This 60-day demonstration period will provide accessible, environmentally friendly and sustainable transportation for over 500,000 Vancouver residents, visitors and athletes from all over the world.
Speaking at the celebratory event in Brussels, André Navarri, President of Bombardier Transportation, said: “Population growth, urbanisation, congestion and pollution are all resulting in a ‘Renaissance’ in public transport and with it a revival of the tram - as many urban centres consider modern tram technology as an important component of public transit planning and sustainable transportation. In many cities around the world, modern trams are transporting people quickly, efficiently and in comfort and at the same time, are helping cities to breathe once again by reducing pollution and congestion. We are delighted to be able to demonstrate this increasingly popular solution in public transport to the City of Vancouver.”
Alain Flausch, Chief Executive Officer of the STIB, commented: “We are very proud that our FLEXITY Outlook tram with its Art Nouveau excellent design has been selected by our colleagues of Vancouver and Bombardier as an example of what a modern and efficient tram should look like and be. I am confident that being there with our tram in the middle of a worldwide event like the Winter Olympics will contribute both to the future success of the tram on the North American continent and to the image of Brussels as a city dedicated to public transport and sustainable mobility”.
Brigitte Grouwels, Minister of Transport of the Brussels Capital Region, concluded: “As Minister of Transport in the Brussels Capital region I am very proud that our Brussels Transport company will provide two BOMBARDIER FLEXITY streetcars on loan for the 2010 Winter Games. This FLEXITY model has definitely proven its functionality in our city. Passengers with childrens' strollers, for example, benefit from these low floor vehicles that enable a continuous flow of passengers. They are also important in reducing CO2 emissions. This partnership is an excellent opportunity to underscore our image as an energy conscious and environmentally friendly capital of not only Belgium, but of Europe as well.”
The Brussels FLEXITY tram has been recognized in the industry for best-in-class innovation and design. It received the prestigious “Henry Van de Velde label” (2007) for its contemporary interpretation of the Art Nouveau style and a “Design at Work” Award (2008) for innovative product development and outstanding design qualities.
Currently, more than 450 100% low-floor FLEXITY vehicles are in successful revenue service in Augsburg (Germany), Brussels (Belgium), Linz and Innsbruck (Austria), Lodz (Poland), Eskisehir (Turkey), Geneva (Switzerland), Marseille (France), Valencia and Alicante (Spain), and will soon be put into operation in Palermo (Italy) and Krefeld (Germany). Similar 100% low floor technology will soon be supplied to the City of Toronto, which recently awarded the largest ever light rail contract of 204 streetcars to Bombardier Transportation.