Work on Tram Line 2 (T2) is scheduled to commence late 2013, and at a total cost of €770 million is a major undertaking for the city of Nice. Planned for completion at the end of 2017, T2 will be 11.3 km in length (3.2 km of that underground) and link the airport with the port. The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has made improving transportation a priority and implementation of the tram network is just one part of his 2030 Master Plan for the city of Nice.
T2 will complement the existing Tram Line 1 (T1) which is 8.7 km long and runs from the Northern suburbs to the city centre and continues onto the Eastern suburbs; with 21 convenient stops it serves over 100,000 people a day. Work is also underway on T1, which is being extended to Pont Michel Pasteur. Commissioning of the extension is scheduled for spring 2013. Combined, the two lines will serve 260,000 people daily (two-thirds of the population) and over 85% of Nice hotels.
At peak times trams run every 4 minutes, representing great value with tickets only €1, as well as making a positive impact both visually and environmentally. Original artwork has been installed at many points along the tramline, enhancing the aesthetics of the city. In addition T2 alone will remove 20,000 cars each day from the roads, representing a 5.3% drop in traffic. Fewer cars equates to a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly city; less noise and a significant reduction in air pollutants (by up to 17.5%).
Furthermore, a major trade centre and transportation hub will be constructed at St. Augustine interconnecting all modes of transport: trams, planes (direct access to the airport), buses (city and intercity), trains (TGV and regional), private cars (park and ride stations), electric cars (Auto-Bleue stations) and bikes (Velo-Bleu stations). This interchange will be in the image of other major European cities such as Baelona and Lisbon.
Two modern tram stations will be installed at each of the airport terminals, showcasing Nice and the Côte d’Azur, and connecting passengers with downtown Nice in less than 20 minutes (26 minutes to the Port). The aim is to have a greener, more beautiful city, to improve the life of the city’s inhabitants and visitors. More initiatives include widening footpaths to encourage pedestrian travel and enhance business activity, and the establishment of a green belt through the plantation of 1700 trees and the creation of parks.
French Riviera real estate expert Aideen O’Brien (Managing Director of leading Nice estate agency, Chez Riviera) notes that “this is just one of many exciting large-scale projects underway or already completed in Nice in an effort to create a modern, green city while preserving its special heritage. T2 is the final element in creating a fully comprehensive, efficient public transportation network. This will help make Nice one of the truly great cities of Europe and therefore an excellent place to invest. Particularly in light of the fact that many other cities are cutting back spending to the detriment of their environment and infrastructure. Nice is one of the few places in Europe that is investing for the future”.