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10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

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‘Explain cargo tram to citizens’

9 July 2007 - Everybody loves the cargo tram plan - or do they? “At some point, we will have to convince citizens”, said environment alderwoman Marijke Vos this afternoon, before signing a ten-year concession to CityCargo.

CityCargo Director Peter Hendriks expects the tram will become operative within a year and a half. He insisted that Amsterdam is the first city in the world to have such a project. He was not counting the tram that supplies a car factory in Dresden with parts: “That one just runs back and forth. Any idiot can do that”.

After signing the concession, Vos explained that she had no indications that public support for the cargo tram was waning. “Quite the contrary, it is a great and promising initiative. But people may start asking: how will this affect my passenger tram?”

Vos said the creation of tracks for loading and unloading trams might also stir some debate, because of the space needed. Districts will have to approve the creation of these 35 meter long tracks, which will be used to load goods onto electric cars for transportation to their final destination.

She called on CityCargo, districts, and municipal transportation company GVB to actively communicate such issues to citizens.

On the other hand, Vos expects the popularity of the cargo tram to grow when the number of lorries in the inner city is reduced. According to CityCargo, the number of lorries may be reduced by 2,500 when the cargo tram is fully operational.

Today EVO, an organisation of companies that depend on transportation, expressed doubts about the economic feasibility of the cargo tram. Echoing concerns expressed by research institute TNO in a feasibility study for the Hague, it said the trams might be too expensive for most purposes.

EVO said the municipality should not introduce regulations favouring the cargo tram at the expense of lorries, thus limiting companies in their choice of how to transport their goods. However, last week EVO did sign an agreement with the municipality to ban environmentally unfriendly lorries from the city.

Today, an EVO spokesperson said the organisation is not going back on that agreement. However, it is against further restrictions, such as banning long lorries from the city or further limiting the hours during which lorries are permitted in the city.

Photo: first cargo tram pilot on 7 March. More: Cargo tram pilot expected soon; Cargo tram ‘a bit madness’; Confidence in feasibility cargo tram


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