After working in Edinburgh for several years, I don’t now have the need to go there very regularly. On Friday night, however, I was meeting a friend for dinner and once again I was shocked at the devastation that has been caused by the ongoing saga of the Edinburgh Trams!
A potted history for those not in the know:
In 2007 when the SNP government took over from Labour/LibDems, there were a few outstanding matters which demanded attention. One in particular was the demand from the Unionist parties for a tram system in Edinburgh. Or perhaps that should read a tram rail because the proposal was for one tram line only serving a very small part of Edinburgh. The vote regarding the Edinburgh trams was outdone by the Unionists and at that point John Swinney said the (SNP) Scottish government would give £550million to the project and not a penny more.
Having originally been scheduled to be up and running by February 2011 the projected completion date is now sometime in 2014. The whole project has been a disaster for Edinburgh. The streets are still in “dug up” progress and have been for several years. Edinburgh looks like a war zone and it’s such a shame because it was once a very attractive city.
For the record, most people are against the trams because the capital city had a bus service which surpassed any other city and did not deserve to be usurped by a tram system which would not provide a service to 90% of the Edinburgh population.
If the trams are ever up and running, it is proposed that the service will operate every 10 minutes with a journey time claimed of “approximately 20 minutes from Haymarket to the Airport”, with service from 06:00 to midnight Monday to Saturday (07:00 start on Sunday).
Currently the Airlink bus services the Princes St to Airport route. Departures are every 10 minutes between 7am and 12:40 am. A 24 hr service operates, departing at 15 and 30 minute intervals before and after this main period respectively. Journey times are 30 minutes from Waverley railway station (about 10 minutes East of Haymarket) to the Airport.
Bearing in mind the aforementioned figure of £550million, it begs the question – who did the original cost/benefit analysis?