Saturday, 7 March 2009


I've been working on the tramtrack
All the livelong day
I've been working on the tramtrack
Just to pass the time away

With the Tram Project in a descent beyond farce, way behind schedule, massively over budget, ludicrously mismanaged, now shrunk from 3 lines to a third of a line, and completely undeliverable, isn't it time to end the pain and cancel it? Moreover, tie has to be wound up and some forensic accountants sent in to look over the books to see what was done properly and what was not during each of the massive failures for which the company was responsible. Such raging incompetence has to be looked at in fine detail, firstly to learn what mistakes were made so that they can be learned from, but secondly to discover whether any of the huge amounts of public money that have been wasted can be recovered. The record is of seven years in which uselessness has been raised almost to an art form. Incorporated in April 2002 it has lurched from one embarrassment to another, dragging Edinburgh's reputation through the mud.
The Freedom of Information requests that used to be available on the trams website have gone, but have a look at the documents on tie's website - strangely, only one set of accounts appears on the site - for 2003/04. You could buy the rest from Companies House, of course, but it's public money, we should be told how it is being paid out. If you want a wee fleg, though, have a look at the Business Plan for 2004/05 (yup, the only one there), here's a couple of excerpts:

1. They bought the charging system for Edinburgh's congestion charging before they ran - and lost - the congestion charging referendum.

2. They were planning multi-storey underground car parks under George Street and Shandwick Place.

3. At that point the trams were intended to be running in 2009 ... on two tramlines ...

Anyway, as I perused the Tram Business Case again, a thought struck me (it hurt) - the point of these tram things was to provide transport from where people were going to be flocking to live in the Granton Harbour area with the new development there (which has, of course, halted) and who would be working on the western periphery of the city - RBS at Gogar, places in the Gyle, that kind of thing. Given that the intention was to move people from Granton to the west, why is the tramline intended to run east from Granton, through Leith, up Leith Walk and along Princes Street and Shandwick Place? Why isn't it designed to go west? After all, that would have avoided the subterranean problems they are about to encounter. Then again, that would have required forward thinking, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

subrosa said...

Callum, I don't live in Edinburgh but I did visit just before Christmas and it was a total nightmare. The destruction of such a lovely medieval city brought tears to my eyes and as hard as I tried to gather some 'Edinburgh atmosphere' around me, it just didn't happen because it wasn't there.

I won't be rushing back but will nip down the other motorway to Glasgow if I need to visit a city.

Goodness knows what any visitor, who has paid good money to visit Scotland, will think of Edinburgh. Makes me feel quite ashamed of our public service bosses.