Okay, so one thing you need to know that if you call a tram a tram here, people think you are talking about the things on cables that go up steep mountains and I will never set foot on. But, clarify a little and they understand quickly. One other note is that they will always call the cable cars in San Francisco trams, even though they are not really trams in their technical sense. It is a very complicated language and I respect anyone who can go between the two.
So anyways, here is a short history of the Zagreb tram (ZET) as it was told to me. First you had the Czech-made trams. Okay, so far so good. They did what they needed to do. They were functional. People were not so crazy about them, but such is life. Then came the Austrian-made trams. These are regarded as being the best by many. They are smooth and feel a lot like the trams in Austria for some reason. Well crafted machines that run quite well today.
The big problem with these first two is that they had no handicap accessibility. It is pretty impressive to watch the older folks hoist themselves up in to these things like it was nothing. But as I pointed out a day or two ago, the doors are not wide enough to allow a wheelchair and they are far too high up for people in a wheelchair to get in.
With the threat/possible entry (either ideology seems to be the case) in to the EU, there will be some problems here with handicap issues. It seems that they have taken this in to account with the newest trams that are Croatian made. They are these very large, sleek, blue machines that glide around town. They sit rather low to the ground and have doors that are quite wide. Apparently they have other features that folks here do not like so much either like the fact they really do not have as much room as the older trams and if you see people in these things during commute times, you realize how important space is. There is one other not so great feature which is that they apparently leaked very, very, very badly when first deployed. So much so, that people had to use umbrellas when inside the cars. I am guessing this problem has been fixed or people have stopped complaining and bring shampoo with them to multi-task.
So there you have it. Zagreb trams in short.