Video: Streetcar unveiled for Bristol
This is the vehicle which transport bosses in Bristol hope will revolutionise the way we get around the city.
Visitors to College Green got a first look of the new rapid transit 'Streetcar', which could be running from Ashton Vale to the city centre by 2013, on Wednesday.
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The futuristic-looking bus, which runs on a electric and diesel hybrid engine is 19 metres long and weighs more than 30 tonnes – almost double the size of a standard single-decker.
Built by a company in Northern Ireland, it was on its way to Southampton before being shipped to Las Vegas.
While in Bristol it drove to the park and ride site in Long Ashton and back, before staying outside the Marriott Royal Hotel for three hours in the afternoon.
Transport planners at the West of England Partnership of all four councils in the former Avon area plan to submit their proposal for the city's the first rapid transit system in February.
The route would run on a mixture of roads and guided busways from Long Ashton to Ashton Gate, around the Cumberland Basin, along Cumberland Road and via Wapping Wharf before heading through the city centre towards Temple Meads.
Originally, the plan was to run the city's first line from Emersons Green to the city centre along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path.
But the idea was scrapped after thousands of protestors signed petitions against the proposal.
Now the the partnership wants to get the public back on board with the rapid transit idea and Wednesday's visit to the city by the vehicle was meant to help do that.
The Ashton Vale route will come the year after a system is set up in Bath and will be followed by other routes linking up Emersons Green, Aztec West and Hengrove to the city centre.
Mark Bradshaw, Bristol City Council's executive transport member, said: "By working together, the four councils want to put in place the infrastructure and quality public transport services we need as a city and sub-region.
"A sustainable, affordable and reliable network is key to offering real choice about how to make every day journeys and attracting economic investment and jobs in future.
"Bringing the Streetcar to Bristol offers a glimpse of the type of vehicle we are looking for and brings to life the drawings, animations and proposals so people can see what rapid transit is and how it could make a big difference to our city."
The model of the Streetcar being used in Las Vegas costs $1.1 million (about £744,000) per vehicle and features high-tech air condition to deal with temperatures of up to 50°C.
The version for Bristol would not need such features and could be modified in other ways to suit the needs of the city.
But it would carry around 100 passengers – half sitting, half standing – and feature screens with journey information, low floors for easy access, three sets of passenger doors and a concertina-style bendy middle section for better cornering.
There would be room for at least eight wheelchairs or prams and also racks for bikes to be stored.
Tickets would most likely be sold from machines at bus stops, with on-board inspectors carrying out checks and the driver in a sealed cabin at the front.
The engine works by using a diesel generator to power an electric motor, while the heat caused by braking is converted into electricity.
David Barnett of Wright Group, which manufactures the vehicle, said: "These are already operating in Leeds and York and we are about to go live in Swansea as well.
"It's been very popular and we have seen a great uptake in people using the services where they run.
"They have been attracted by the frequency of stops, the regular service and people know what time it's going to be arriving.
"Today is an opportunity to demonstrate the type of vehicle being proposed and we hope it will attract motorists out of their cars.
"The vehicle is meant to challenge people's preconceptions about public transport."