Edinburgh's Trams Will Be Profitable From Day 1 But Leith Can Wait, Says Council Report

Submitted by edg on Fri, 8 Oct '10 11.38pm

The company designated to eventually run Edinburgh trams, Transport Edinburgh Ltd (TEL), could be profitable from day one, according to a new report going before Council on Thursday 14th October. However, as always with Edinburgh's trams, there are some caveats.

The Edinburgh Tram Update Report, described as “a refresh of the business case for Edinburgh’s tram project“, advises that the original plan to build tram line 1A from Edinburgh Airport to the Newhaven waterfront would have to be completed in incremental phases.

The line between the airport and St Andrew Square would open first.

Buses not trams would provide the link with Leith and Newhaven.

“A first incremental opening of tram services from Airport to St Andrew Square would yield early economic and integration benefits, provide an enhanced transport link between the city and the Airport and a rail link to other areas of Scotland as a result of the interface with the Edinburgh Gateway Project (Gogar Station),” say the report's authors (Dave Anderson, Director of City Development and Donald McGougan, Director of Finance sign off on the report).

There is no date for the completion of the tram line from St Andrew Square to Newhaven. The report suggests that decision would be made later, based on available funding:

“Incremental delivery would allow the whole of Phase 1a to be delivered in stages and over a flexible timescale under the Council's control.”

It would also be the profits from the bus business that would allow the new transport company to be profitable from day one. Lothian Buses is being amalgamated with Edinburgh Trams to make TEL.

The authors of the report forecast that it will take three to four years for the trams to build up patronage before the tram operations within TEL become profitable.

While reiterating that the business case for the trams remains positive in spite of the project's setbacks and general economic gloom, the report says that a settlement in the ongoing dispute between Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE) and the Edinburgh trams contractors BSC “appears unlikely in the short term”.

So what next? That's confidential, although it looks increasingly likely that TIE will terminate its current contract.

On this issue the report's authors write: “In the event approval for the termination of the contract is sought, TIE will also bring forward options for delivering the project in an alternative manner. It is proposed that the above matters would form part of a further comprehensive report to be brought to the December council meeting (or if possible an earlier Special Meeting of the Council) outlining the recommended available options.”

Edinburgh trams

Edinburgh City Council claims Edinburgh Trams to be profitable from day one.

Aye right!

How do buses subsidise trams?.... Remove popular convenient bus routes especially the 22 then only the tram will get you there. As a pensioner, the removal of the 22 bus which passes my door, will be a major inconvenience. The nearest tram stop will be three bus stops away.

The trams will cause major bus jams on Princes Street, thereby reduce the quality of service and passenger numbers as a result; reduced profits plundered to subsidise trams. The once award-winning bus service sacrificed for a vanity project.

The time has come for an independent inquiry into the fiasco.

1. Who benefited financially from the original project commissioning? Forth Ports shareholders perhaps?
2. Which official/s anticipated praise/promotion by supporting this crazy scheme? Professor David Begg maybe?
3. Why was a privately funded tram project(costing zero to the taxpayer) rejected by the council prior to the current scheme?
4. How was the opposition able to force the new government to waste £500 million against Scottish Government policy?
5. Which MSPs actively supported that un-democratic action?
6. Why wasn't a proper Metro/light rail system (as in Newcastle) using abandoned railway lines funded?

Hopefully the trams - when they eventually come - will remove car drivers from their cars. After all, the green transport argument was originally one of the main reasons for introducing the trams. But the fact that the trams wont go to Leith, but rather you are going to have to change from a tram to a bus at St Andrew Square, undermines that argument.

It's a sad state affairs, especially for Leith which is already hurting more than the other parts of the city from the downturn. I'm not surprised Leith businesses are up in arms after all the havoc that they had to experience with the tram works in recent years.

Maybe when the contract is ripped up we'll get some answers to your questions, Stewart, although you are talking about ancient history now.

What did I say? When did I say it first? Where did I say it? How often?

Trams will ruin the buses. 2007. On the radio. Every week.

Hang your heads all you vanity project supporters. The only
...satisfaction now, given the tipping point of the disaster has passed,
is to remind you.

Now the Evening News has woken up to the fiasco it shamefully supported..



Stewart Lochhead is dead right!    Why get one disaster to ruin a perfectly well run service?   If the trams and the buses are combined the Council and Tie will simply hide behind the figures and claim that it has all been "a success".      The Council and Tie are spinning for all they are worth while Bilfiger Berger take the money - our money - to the bank.

We should demand that the whole project is stopped right now and only  restarted once there is a  justified case for proceeding and when we have the money to do the job.  Once Tie have put the project into suspension they should all be sacked and with no "performance pay" or bonuses.   The same goes for all those Councillors who voted for this foolish vanity project - they should be kicked out.