Could this be the future of transport in York?
It is an ultra modern version of something the city knows well: the tram. Called Very Light Rail, it is being pioneered in the city of Coventry.
The idea is to create an urban transport system at a much lower cost and with much reduced construction times than traditional tramways or light rail networks.
Each of the vehicles can take 50 passengers – 30 standing, 20 seated. Ultimately they would run autonomously, without the need for a driver.
“The aim is to create a reliable, frequent, environmentally friendly, battery-driven hop on hop off transport system that will work in small to medium-sized towns and cities at a fraction of the cost of a traditional tram,” says Coventry City Council.
Construction of a prototype vehicle is already underway.
Rapid and reliable
So should York get on board? The York Bus Forum thinks it is worth investigating.
“During the last part of the 19th and the early 20th century the primary mode of public transport in the city was our tram system, initially it was horse drawn but latterly electrified,” the forum says.
“Could developments in technology provide a possible alternative for the return to this? Could we see York repeat the successes of other cities of our size and provide a rapid, reliable rail-based mass transport system?”
To find out more they have invited Nicola Small, senior rail programme manager for Coventry City Council, to give a public talk, Very Light Rail – The future of urban travel?
City of York Council deputy leader Andy D’Agorne has already backed the idea of modern trams in the city.
He told YorkMix in 2018: “Modern electric trams are more efficient and permanent than bus routes as a long-term investment, with the mostly dedicated routes enabling them to avoid traffic congestion.”