The TTC has officially unveiled the first of 204 new streetcars that are expected to be deployed on city streets by 2014.

The streetcar, which was shown to members of the media Thursday morning, is about double the size of previous streetcars, carries about 68 more passengers and comes equipped with a lower-floor to improve accessibility and an air conditioning system.

“The new low-floor streetcars have increased capacity as you can see by the length, they have air conditioning, which is a benefit to all, and they can load at any of the doors, which will improve the convenience for everybody,” TTC Chair Karen Stintz said in unveiling the streetcar.

The new fleet of streetcars, which are being built in Canada by Bombardier, come with a price tag of about $1.19 billion. According to Stintz, the city will cover $662 million of that cost with the province covering $416 million and the federal government covering the remaining $108 million.

Speaking to reporters, Ontario Minister of Transportation Bob Chiarelli said the new streetcars are a “significant improvement” over the ones currently used by the TTC and a sound investment for the province.

“Our government understands that public transit is one of the most important issues facing not only families but businesses across the Greater Toronto Area,” he said. “Traffic gridlock risks choking our economy.”

The streetcar unveiled on Thursday is one of three being housed at the TTC's Hillcrest facility near Bloor Street and Davenport Avenue.

The streetcars may be spotted on city streets over the coming months as testing is completed on them, but they will not be put into service until 2014.

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