BLACKPOOL is on track for a greener future.
As assembly work begins on the resort’s new fleet of 16 supertrams, transport and tourism chiefs are urging residents to consider switching from gas-guzzling cars to eco-friendly public transport.
The trams, part of a £100m upgrade programme, are currently being built by Bombardier – the world’s leading and largest manufacturer of light rail vehicles – and should go into public service during Easter 2012.
Trevor Roberts, managing director of Blackpool Transport, said: “The trams have got a much bigger capacity of 220 people, and we hope to encourage more people to use the tramway rather than driving around Blackpool.
“The challenge we have is that 80 per cent of the people who use the tramway are visitors; we have got to encourage local people in the Fylde to use trams as a form of transport.
“If we do that, we might be able to take a lot of cars off the road.
“We stand a good chance – the beauty of having the trams is that they are modern, airy and accessible.”
The Blackpool Flexity 2 trams have been designed to reduce traction energy consumption by up to 30 per cent.
Other energy-saving features include LED lighting, which has a longer lifetime compared to conventional light source.
An optimised heating and ventilation system will also be fitted in the trams to reduce wastage.
Coun Maxine Callow, cabinet member for tourism and regeneration, said: “The council supports all forms of public transport as one extra person on a bus or a tram is one less car on the road. These trams are an excellent form of transport that will hopefully appeal to commuters, from Fleetwood to Blackpool and vice versa.
They are also the most energy efficient forms of transport and the first of this new type of tram in the world.”
And Bombardier said: “Both Blackpool and Bombardier are committed to sustainable mobility. This is reflected in the pro-active implementation of design technologies to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
“But it is not just the environment we are thinking about with energy-saving measures.
“For Blackpool, lower energy consumption means increased savings.”
The newly built trams will arrive in the resort at the rate of two per month, starting this summer, and will be tested on the track between Starr Gate and the Pleasure Beach.
Further testing, probably at night, will take place on the full track before the trams go into public service.