Kolkata’s beloved tram, a mode of transportation that dates back to the 19th century has got a cool new make-over! The refurbished tram car is now fitted with air conditioning, coming as a welcome relief to passengers battling Kolkata’s intense heat, reports Times of India.
The AC service has been introduced between Shyambazar and Esplanade, one of the oldest routes. It has been drawing passengers to it since it was introduced at the beginning of this month. This renovated single-coach AC tram makes six round-trips a day; and has been clocking thrice the revenue of a usual twin-coach tram.
The high demand for the AC tram is a welcome relief for the tramways; given that in recent times other modes of transportation have rendered it almost obsolete. Travelling at speeds of only 35 km/h, the tram isn’t usually the first option for travellers, until this recent development.
Passengers flock to the new AC Kolkata tram
“No tram in Kolkata has generated as much revenue in years as this single-coach AC tram has registered since it was introduced,” said a senior West Bengal Transport Corporation Official (WBTC). He added, “Enthused by it, we are considering a proposal to introduce such a service in other parts of the city.”
These AC trams might help cross-subsidise non-AC services which are currently loss-making. The cost of a ride on an AC tram costs ₹20; while a non-ac tram ride costs ₹6 up to 4km and ₹7 beyond that distance.
A 1982 make twin-coach tram was completely overhauled at the Nonapukur central workshop where it was fitted with a 7.1-tonne AC unit. The tram also has pneumatic doors which are operated from the motorman’s cabin. This entire makeover has cost ₹25 lakhs.
The AC tram was inaugurated in February; by transport minister Subhendu Adhikari but the coach was put into service only in May.