New trams hit streets of Daugavpils

Latvia's second city, Daugavpils, now boasts an eye-catching fleet of modern trams, Latvian Radio's Silvija Smagare reports.

The twelve Russian-built trams, which come in two different lengths, were pressed into service almost immediately upon their arrival in the city.

Appropriately enough for the native city of artist Mark Rothko, the trams come in eye-catching colors: blue and orange for the shorter variants and red and white for the big ones.

The new trams promise a quieter and more comfortable ride - though that's not difficult given their notoriously rickety and ancient predecessors and cost around €6.5m from the city budget.

Daugavpils' 54 drivers and conductors are particularly keen to get to grips with the new arrivals, tram inspector Gunars Groze told LSM.

"It feels good in the new tram cab, and you are surrounded by electronics. Everything is computerized, unlike the old trams," driver Tatjana said, while admitting that operating all the new controls is a fairly complex business with the door controls in particular taking some getting used to.

Though the largest of the new trams can accomodate up to 187 passengers, one of them named Anna remained to be convinced by some of the fold-down seats.

"The new trams are good but there doesn;t seem to be much seating. I have an old husband and if the tram jolts suddenly there could be a fall," Anna said.

Hopefully the drivers will master the controls quickly enough that jolting tramcars will be a thing of the past. 

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