More questions over investment

Over-budget trams running at only 25% capacity

Edinburgh TramsMost of Edinburgh’s trams are running at only a quarter of their seating capacity, new figures have revealed.

Research has shown that, on average, 250 seats are empty on every tram, meaning the service is well short of fulfilling its revenue potential.

Scottish Conservatives have leapt on the data as proof that those responsible for the over-budget system have work to do to make them pay their way.

While passenger numbers rose last year to 5.3 million, the trams have the capacity to carry more than 21 million.

The £776m project is subject to a public inquiry, itself costing millions of pounds, over the reasons for it going over-budget and being delayed.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Lothian, Miles Briggs said:The one saving grace people in Edinburgh thought they could take from the trams was that they would be worth the wait eventually.

“However, with three-quarters of spaces unfilled every year, it seems even that consolation hasn’t come to pass.

“This was a hideously disruptive and expensive project but, having been operational for a while, millions of spaces on these trams are going spare.

“Passengers are complaining that they continue to be slower than the bus, and some residents are so furious with the inconvenience they caused they refuse to get on them.

“It’s clear there is still significant work to do to make this project a success, and I hope bosses use these numbers as a catalyst for doing exactly that.”

An Edinburgh Trams spokesman said: “It’s disappointing the Conservatives have issued a figure that misrepresents both the success of the trams and how public transport in general operates.

“We’ve already had to introduce extra services at peak times and there will be good news early in the new year on further service improvements.”

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