Prague Transit to introduce new "Porsche" trams

Skoda 14 T

Ask just about anyone who has ever visited Prague what commuting in the capital is like, they'll likely mention the classic red-and-white trams that criss-cross the city. For generations the tramcar has been as much a symbol of the Czech capital as any, an efficient and picturesque manner of getting from A to B. And, although in the 90s, modern low-level cars were introduced, one can still travel by older models. But, in December you might not want to: Prague will see the introduction of an altogether new tram: the much-awaited 14 T.

Who wouldn't want to test a brand new Porsche at the cost of a mere twenty crowns, less than one US dollar? Soon Prague commuters will get the chance to do so, as the city's transportation Authority plans to introduce the Skoda 14 T, designed by the Porsche Design Studio. Soon, two of an eventual twenty new trams will roll out in Prague: beautiful, modern, and sleek. While there will be a brief testing period for drivers before the new cars become fully available to the public, commuters have much to look forward to. the Prague Transportation Authority's Michaela Kucharova filled me in on what commuters can expect:

"The first two trams will arrive in Prague by the end of the year, and will be followed by an additional eighteen vehicles. There will be a period of testing for drivers to get many kilometres under their belts, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem. For tram drivers the 14 T should be very pleasant: the driver's cabin will, for example, be air-conditioned. Also, there will be a new system of mirrors and closed-circuit cameras so that the driver will have an excellent overview of what's going on at the back.

As far as commuters are concerned, the most important thing about the tram is that it is fully low-level, fully accessible to the disabled. The new design is also more comfortable, and will feature an upholstered interior that is easily cleaned. The vehicle is also quieter, meaning less noise on Prague's streets."

Some of course will remain nostalgic for older rattling models on Prague's tracks: even Michaela Kucharova, who says she is a bit old-fashioned concerning trams, but stresses that the 14 T is the future.

"I am a little bit old-fashioned so I like the old T 3s - the ones with the rounded edges. For me they represent the city. That said, the new model is of course a step forward, it is a big advance."

The Transportation Authority boasts a user-friendly website where commuters can write what they think: though often people write in the negative, in this case the authority hopes otherwise: that the new "Porsches" in Prague will more than satisfy.