In the first instance the new trams will be used on the new line to Neder-over-Heembeek via Thurn & Taxis and on some existing routes. They can also be used to replace some of the oldest trams in use. Due to their low floors the new trams are more accessible for those with mobility issues, presents with children and those with suitcases or shopping trollies.
In a press statement released on Monday evening MIVB said, "The 90 new trams will, in conjunction with the decommission of some of the oldest trams in the fleet, extent capacity on MIVB’s trams by around 10,000 places (seats and standing room). This means 15% extra capacity for our passengers”.
The “New Generation Trams” were presented to the press and the public for the first time during the celebrations to mark the 150 anniversary of the tram services in Brussels. Then a life-sized replica of the new tram was displayed on the Koningsplein in Brussels.
The two orders placed with Bombardier are good for a total investment of 236 million euro. There are part of a framework agreement with the Canadian company that in time will lead to the ordering of 175 trams. Bombardier has a factory in the West Flemish city of Bruges. Of the 90 trams orders, 79 are smaller trams with a maximum passenger capacity of 182 passengers. The remaining 11 trams are long (43m) trams that can carry 256 passengers.