Škoda Transportation has started the test drives without passengers of its three-section ForCity Smart tram on Plzeň Line 4 between University and Košutka.
The tram must cover 20,000 km without passengers and then starts testing with passengers for the same distance.
In 2018, the public transport authority of Plzeň, PMDP, awarded Škoda Transportation a CZK 1 billion (EUR 39.4 million, in 2021 prices) contract for the delivery of 22 ForCity Smart LRVs with an option for additional vehicles. In 2019, PMDP and the EIB signed a EUR 50 million loan supporting the acquisition of 34 trams and 34 trolley buses to replace the existing urban vehicle fleet.
The bidirectional high-capacity tram is 29 metre-long, designed for a capacity of 64 seats and 121 standing passengers, with an average of 4 people per m2. The maximum speed of the tram is 70 km per hour.
The 100% low-floor tramways are equipped with air conditioning system and provide large capacity which will significantly contribute to passenger comfort. Five double doors on both sides of the vehicle allow quick boarding and exiting
The vehicles are also equipped with state-of-the-art passenger information systems, cameras and other innovative solutions. The interior of the vehicles will also be new, corresponding to today’s trends that emphasise functionality and simplicity.
Other advantages of the vehicles include swivel bogies and low axle pressure, which is gentle on the track’s superstructure. The trams also offer a technical solution suitable for both the sharp curves and the challenging uphill tracks in Plzeň. The trams will comply with the latest European standards for the strength of vehicle bodies or impact resistance of the vehicle body. The front of the vehicle is designed to provide higher protection of the driver and passengers in the event of a collision, while also being considerate towards other traffic participants. The layout of the new tram driver’s cab also provides better visibility for the driver and more comfortable driving ergonomics.
A similar type of tram will also be introduced soon in Ostrava and will also run in the German cities of Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg.
The ForCity Smart tram will be involved in autonomous operation testing after the construction of a new polygon in Borek, a municipality in České Budějovice District, South Bohemian Region.