Passengers getting onto tram 22 Photo's DUB

Fancy tram finally running

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During the first, busy morning rush tram 22 had to face, passengers pour onto the new tram platform at Utrecht Central Station. Guides point the passengers to the correct places to get onto the tram, after which the passengers all receive a tram-shaped chocolate bar.

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The first morning the tram runs to Utrecht Science Park, has been carefully organized by U-OV. What do passengers think of those efforts, and of the tram ride itself?

You don’t fall down as easily
Iza, Julia and Britt, Hilversum-based students of Psychology, Social Sciences, and Life Sciences respectively, are standing together in the middle of the tram. “The morning started off well: this tram isn’t nearly as far of a walk from the platform we arrive at. That connection means we don’t have to wait as long.” They’re positive about the tram. “From what I’ve seen so far, it runs quite smoothly. It’s also a lot cleaner: the glass doesn’t get fogged up, and there’s more fresh air than in bus 12.” They laugh: “But I’m sure tomorrow we’ll hate it again! You get used to things. But today, we’re still enthusiastic. Standing upright is also better than it was in the bus: you’re more stable, and don’t fall down as easily.”

Luc (31) and Bas (25) have managed to snag seats, but aren’t quite as enthusiastic. “It’s beautiful and clean, but I don’t get why we had to wait ten years for a regular tram,” says Bas. Although he and Luc aren’t raving the way others are, they are seated comfortably. “It’s more comfortable than on a bus. It doesn’t bounce around as much, so sitting is more relaxed.” Without meaning to, Luc dodged the tram fare for one stop. “I only discovered that the check-in points are outside after getting on the tram. Perhaps there was no more budget to put them inside the tram?”

On the way back from the Science Park to Utrecht Central Station, Frank gets on the tram. He works at the Galgenwaard stadium. “Parking there is undoable, of course. Now, I can park at the P+R and take the tram to get me to Galgenwaard in no time. Like everyone else, I’ve had to wait years and years for this tram, and I’ve only been on it for a few minutes, but so far, I’d say it’s definitely great.”

A lot of searching on a first day like this
Marcella and her colleague are handing out chocolate trams to passengers today. “We got this job through the temp agency. We haven’t been on the tram ourselves yet, haha!” Still, they’re able to give advice to passengers. “We see a lot of people who don’t know yet that the check-in points are outside at the stops. And a lot of passengers tend to want to get onto the closest part of the tram – but that’s also going to be the busiest part. So we advise them to walk a little further. There’s still a lot of searching on a first day like this.”

Chris, Fee, and Kujtim hurry to get onto the tram at Utrecht Central Station. They didn’t need help in finding the check-in points. “It seems kind of convenient to have them outside. It’s so awkward on the bus when you have to stretch past another person to check in.” The second-year students of Technological Business Studies were lucky enough to find seats in a full tram. “It’s awesome that it’s faster, but I can’t say whether I’m a fan yet. I’d have to make more trips to say,” says Chris. They discuss whether they feel the tram is worth the money spent on it. “That many millions of euros for a few minutes’ time gain?” Fee wonders. Kujtim counters that there are more advantages to the tram: it’s wider, and although a lot of people have to stand, they don’t bounce around as much. The tram will also never get stuck in traffic, until bus 12. He does wonder what will happen when the weather dips below 0 degrees Celsius. “I hope we won’t get NS-like situations.”

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