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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 17:38 GMT
City secures streetcar funding
ftr Concept streetcar
It is hoped the Concept could be at stops for just 20 seconds a time
Futuristic streetcars that are a cross between a tram and bus are set to hit Swansea's streets within two years.

The 110-seater passenger vehicles will eventually link Morriston with Mumbles after the city council secured 2.2m Welsh Assembly Government funding.

Roads on the route the "ftr Concept" will travel need to be adapted due to its length but the council is aiming to start services by early 2008.

It says it will be the first public transport system of its kind in Wales.

Swansea commuters were given a sneak preview of the streetcar during brief trials in the city last July.

Bus operator First Cymru and the city council were so impressed the assembly government was asked to help pay for highway improvements.

Priority lanes

First Cymru will pay for the fleet, at a cost of 300,000 for each vehicle.

When the service first starts it will run from Morriston to County Hall in the city centre. Further work will eventually see the link extended along the sea front all the way to Mumbles.

Cabinet member for the environment John Hague said: "We are delighted to get the assembly government funding required to proceed with the plans for Swansea Metro.

ftr Concept streetcar
This exciting new concept in public transport delivers so much more than any bus can
Justin Davies, First Cymru

"The funding will allow us to proceed with the physical works necessary to provide the infrastructure."

He said the Streetcar would run along a clearly defined route calling at Morriston and Singleton Hospitals, the new 7m civic centre at County Hall and the university.

The council hopes it will take up to 10% of car journeys off the road on the corridors it serves within five to six years.

Stops would be placed roughly every 500m - less frequently than buses - and passengers would pre-pay before boarding.

With priority lanes at traffic lights and junctions for the streetcars the aim is to make the journey time as quick as if it were by car.

York is to become the first city in the UK to operate the streetcars when they take to the road later this year.

First Cymru's managing director Justin Davies said the company was working on detailed plans for the route.

"This exciting new concept in public transport delivers so much more than any bus can," he said.


SEE ALSO:
City first to use new bus fleet
22 Feb 06 |  North Yorkshire
300,000 streetcar hits the road
19 Jul 05 |  South West Wales
Gurkha bus drivers find new jobs
10 May 05 |  South West Wales
City trials for electric bus
25 Jun 04 |  South West Wales


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