Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tram fools

So here's an idea.

Let's find a capital city somewhere.

Let's have a huge, international festival, have some of the world's biggest stars and draw thousands of people to the city.

Let's run the best bus system in the country in that capital city in 2007 and 2008.

Then let's dig up half the city to lay tram lines, closing streets and seeing businesses lose masses of their turnover (this, of course, before the credit crunch).

Then let's close the main street in that city to put in the ground work for a tram system.

Then let's allow the company who are doing the work to hold the council to ransom for an extra £80m on top of a fixed contract, close the main street but down tools and then delay the conclusion of the project by 16 months.

You probably couldn't make it up.

Yet that's the situation in Edinburgh as I currently see it.

Now I know there are some here who can't wait until the trams are up and running and others who think they are the biggest waste of money since Tore Andre Flo signed for Rangers (£12m lest we forget - comparatively speaking, a bargain).

I don't have anything against trams in principle. I've been in several cities (Bilbao, Toronto) where they work well (albeit the former only has a single line and seems a bit pointless). But I think that if this was going to work it needed the backing of the whole city - and it needed leadership from the Council which, given the divisive nature of the project, it was never going to get.

It's a mess now, pure and simple. And Edinburgh, with the need for new schools etc, looks like it will be paying the price for a long time.

3 comments:

Holyrood Patter 24 February 2009 at 11:09  

ive been in amsterdam a few times, the trams run a treat

Anonymous,  24 February 2009 at 11:49  

I seem to remember voting in a referendum on whether or not to support the council's transport strategy. I seem to remember the council lost.

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 22:00  

The bilbao tram is not pointless as it takes you from point a to point b - better known as the guugenheim without confusing maps!!!!

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