The first of two Bombardier Flexity streetcars, which will operate for free in Vancouver beginning in January, 2010, was unveiled on Monday in False Creek.

The streetcars are the first 100 per cent low-floor vehicles to be used in North America.

"This is the latest state-of-the-art modern European streetcar design," Bombardier General Manager Steve Hall said.

The streetcars will transport passengers from the Athletes Village Canada Line stop to Granville Island from January 21 to March 21.

The service will run 18 hours a day, seven days a week -- for free.

"We want everybody to enjoy it and have fun," Hall said. "It's a demonstration for all the people in Metro Vancouver to see what this transit option is really like, to ride it, feel it, and have a sense of what could be possible here."

A permanent streetcar service, running 21 stops from Main Street to Stanley Park through the downtown core, has also been proposed. 

Hall said he hopes the streetcars will help combat climate change by drawing people out of their cars.

"There's a whole wave of effort to make transit vehicles as attractive and comfortable as possible," Hall said. "Big windows, open, and comfortable."

The Flexity streetcars are on loan from Belgium's Brussels Transport Company and will run on existing Downtown Historic Railway infrastructure, which was upgraded for $8.5 million from the City of Vancouver.

More information on Flexity streetcars can be found at the Bombardier website.