"We will be using this technology to add convenience to culture and enhance heritage without affecting the environment in compliance with Melaka's status as a Unesco World Heritage Site," he told a media briefing here today.
Kumar said the tram would scrap the traditional "pantograph" system in keeping with the times and also in line with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to combat global warming.
The ground breaking ceremony was performed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.
Also present was Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said.
Melaka Tram was made official via an agreement between the Chief Minister Incorporation (CMI) and Mrails in March last year.
Under the agreement, the company has agreed to design, construct and finance, manage, maintain and supervise the road tramway and tramcar operations for 25 years, while the financing of the project worth RM272 million is borne by Mrails as well.
The company has also been charged with managing ticket collections for 25 years, with CMI taking 20 per cent in terms of ticket collection and the balance by Mrails, Kumar said.
He highlighted that the Melaka Tram Corridor would begin from its depot adjacent to the Ayer Keroh Toll Plaza heading to the heritage town of Melaka with a distance of 40 kilometres covering 11 of fourteen major tourist spots.
"We will work hand-in-hand with our partners, CNR Tangshan Railway Vehicles Co Ltd, a Chinese-based locomotive manufacturer," he said.
The tram is a rail borne vehicle, lighter than a train and differs from other forms of locomotion, as the tracks are embedded in the street.
It is able to accommodate 120 passengers at one time, caters to the disabled because its ground-level design and will operate at speeds of 40 km/h.
Kumar said Mrails, which is expecting at least a 40,000 ridership daily, would make commuting affordable, with a fare charge of RM2.
It is free for the disabled and students.
Moving forward, the company intends to export its train to other cities in the country as well as overseas, namely to India and Africa next year, he said. -- BERNAMA
Read more: Melaka Tram to open to public in May 2012 http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/MelakaTramtoopentopublicinMay2012/Article/#ixzz1FEzPqSDo