Dating back to 1901, Hong Kong’s rattling double-decker trams are as integral to the city as a steaming hot bowl of wonton noodles or some barbecued pork from your favourite ‘hole in the wall’ eatery.
But this new design brings those trams thundering into the 21st century, and it’s as radical on the outside as it is inside.
Created by HK-based Ponti Design Studio and dubbed ‘Island’, the trams are fully electric and fully automated.
Expansive curved windows at the front and rear of each tram, as well as along both decks, make the most of the view for locals and visitors alike, while a see-through rooftop lets that view soar upwards as well as outwards, promising some spectacular night-time vistas.
Passengers would find a spacious interior with circular outward-facing padded benches replacing rows of cramped seating, while handrail bars line either side of both decks.
“The name Island refers to the innovative design of the interiors, with large circular benches where passengers sit facing outwards” notes the Ponti Design Studio website, where sketches show interiors of charcoal walls, cushioned seats and wooden ‘heritage’ floors.
“The exterior design is inspired by Hong Kong buildings with curved curtain walls. Island’s curved windows and domed top draw in light by day and awe-inspiring views by night.”
Each car incorporates a retractable connection point that allows fast charging at tram stops – and Pinto has re-imagined those stops along similarly sleek lines, open on both sides for improved passenger flow, with integrated digital screens conveying traveller information.
Tap-on and tap-off Octopus card readers would be installed at each stop to reduce congestion points on the trams themselves.
However, don’t go looking for these cool trams on your next trip to Hong Kong. Island is a independently-developed concept by Ponti Design Studio without the involvement of the local government or Hong Kong Tramways.
While means at least you can enjoy the colourful and authentically raw character of today’s Hong Kong trams for quite a while longer, and we think that’s a good thing...