Published: 31st May 2015
After exactly one year of operations, Edinburgh Trams have catered for almost five million journeys by passengers.
The tally of 4.92 million passengers is more than one-third of a million more than forecast. Revenue targets in the business model are also expected to be exceeded.
The good news for the trams comes after criticism that it serves a single truncated route that cost more than the £545 million budget for the previously proposed system.
Trams began carrying passengers on 31 May 2014 along the current route from Edinburgh Airport past a new depot at Gogar, along a dedicated trackbed reaching city-centre streets beside Haymarket station and terminating at York Place. It was previously expected to continue along Leith Walk to Leith and Newhaven. An earlier proposal to run mainly on an old railway trackbed via Roseburn to Granton was also abandoned.
Earlier this year, a UK survey by Passenger Focus found that users of Edinburgh Trams reported a 95 per cent satisfaction rating. Tom Norris, General Manager of Edinburgh Trams, said: “The first birthday is a very exciting day for all of us because it rounds up a hugely significant year for everyone involved. We’ve beaten our targets and we’re on the right path. The success we’ve worked so hard to achieve is down to the commitment and hard work of everyone involved in delivering the service day in day out.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, who chairs Transport at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “To have had nearly five million passengers on board the trams since their launch is a massive achievement, and it’s thanks to the support of the public that we’ve had such a successful first year.
“Credit must also go to the team, whose efforts and professionalism ensure Edinburgh Trams provides an excellent service to passengers every day. As it continues to develop as a key element of the city’s transport offering we now look forward to its future as part of the city’s modern, integrated transport system.”
There is a fleet of 27 trams. The workforce totals 130 people. The line is 14 kilometres long and has 15 stops. The route runs along Princes Street. An “Edinburgh Gateway” stop is to be provided beside the Gogar Roundabout on the western side of the city, connecting trams with trains at a new station on the railway between Edinburgh and the Forth Bridge.
A public inquiry headed by the former Lord Advocate, Andrew Hardie, is investigating why the tram project over-ran in terms of time and cost during construction. Part of the system was shelved, at least temporarily. There are still hopes of eventual construction from York Place down Leith Walk to the north side of Edinburgh.
At Haymarket a new interchange has been built as the tram stop connects with trains operated by ScotRail, Virgin Trains, Virgin East Coast, CrossCountry and TPE at the adjacent main line station.