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Date set for decision on Leith

Edinburgh tram ‘exceeds targets’ amid talk of extension

Tram anniversaryEdinburgh’s tram marks its first anniversary this weekend with management claiming to have surpassed expectations for passenger numbers and revenue.

It comes ahead of a decision due on 25 June on whether to extend the line to Leith as originally planned.

The line carried 4.92 million passengers, some 370,000 ahead of the target set before the project’s launch on 31 May last year. It is also on target beat revenue targets by 3%. The system operated at 99% reliability and received a 95% customer satisfaction rating.

Its 8.7-mile single line route from Edinburgh Airport to eastern fringe of the city centre was built at a final cost of £776m, more than double the original estimate.

The figures come as a date is set for an inquiry headed by Lord Hardie into the controversial project, which ran over budget and was dogged by delays. A preliminary hearing will begin on 19 August.

There are also ongoing discussions about whether to extend the system, including completion of the line to Leith. Critics say the tram’s failure to touch enough residential areas has limited its impact. Much of the journey is through open land or along a route well served by buses.

Tom Norris, director and 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.”

He added: “The airport is growing, TFE [Transport for Edinburgh] is developing well, a new tram stop will link us to the Fife line and our city is going from strength to strength.

“We’re ready to be at the centre of that development and part of the continued success of Edinburgh.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds (pictured above), chairman of Transport for Edinburgh, 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.”

Edinburgh Trams has a fleet of 27 and employs 130 staff including drivers, ticketing assistants, control centre operators and maintenance engineers.

 

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