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Air-con tram on test run

2016.06.08
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HONG Kong’s first air-conditioned tram took to the road on 6 June on a three-month trial run, with passengers helping to assess how low the temperature should be set.

While enjoying a cool ride in the sizzling summer without paying extra, passengers will be surveyed on board to find out their preferred temperature in the tram - 23, 25 or 27 degrees Celsius.

The ‘Pilot Cooler Tram’ No 88 (冷氣電車88) is distinguished by its light blue body with artwork depicting a passenger sitting at ease and enjoying a cool breeze.

Hong Kong Tramways (香港) said it cost HK$250,000 to refit the new tram which was built at its Whitty Street depot (屈地街車) with the air-conditioning parts brought in from the mainland.

The power supply for the air conditioning is set up on the roof of the car, while air vents are in different parts inside the tram. Most of the windows can be opened so that passengers can get fresh air when the air-conditioning system is running on air ventilation mode.

Hong Kong Tramways managing director Emmanuel Vivant (魏文) said whether there will be more cooler trams will depend on the feedback from passengers on how much they are prepared to pay.

“The second factor is how much extra operating cost we have and what are the necessary investments that we need to develop a fleet of cooler trams,” Vivant said.

If cooler trams are introduced beyond the pilot scheme, “we will need to have differential fares”.

Senior engineering manager Steven Chan Si-yiu (陳是耀) said the air-conditioned tram uses more electricity than conventional ones.

The company will fine-tune the temperature and ventilation settings based on passengers’ comments and data assessment after the first month of trials.

(This article is published on Sing Tao Daily on 10 June 2016)

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