Monday, 10 August 2009

Not my problem says Tram boss

My regular email from Leith Business Association left me dumfoonert. LBA, as always, is agitating in the interests of its members and invited Richard Jeffrey, Chief Executive of TIE, to walk the Walk and see the problems being caused by the chaos of the Tram. He washed his hands, saying it wasn't his problem:
When it was pointed out to Mr Jefrrey that the local businesses and residents were being forced to bear the brunt of this impact, for something that was, 'not their problem', Mr Jeffrey responded, "It's not my problem either."

So TIE causes the problem through its contractors but accepts no responsibility for solving it. Holes are dug all over the place but no work goes on in them and the communities alongside the current route are expected to suffer it and look forward to at least another two years.

This project is a disaster, the business case was fantasy when the economy was strong and is doubly so now, the route is the wrong route, the funding is not in place, the works are behind schedule and over budget, the thing still isn't fully designed, the intended revenue stream includes a subsidy from the Scottish Government which has never been promised, it's sent Lothian Buses into the red, and there's no indication that the expected passenger footfall will materialise. Stop it now and let's see if we can save some businesses, thereby saving some jobs, let's see if we can get the city moving again, and let's not start out on any more ill-thought-out half-baked hare-brained vanity schemes.

Edinburgh's transport needs sorted out and it needs proper consideration to make sure we get it right. There are miles of unused and underused rail track in the city and miles more track bed, there are stations still extant which haven't been used in years - and they would serve much more of Edinburgh than the current idea of ramming a bit of street rail down some of our busiest streets. How have they got it so wrong?

1 comment:

Vronsky said...

I have searched long and hard and can find no persuasive argument for trams - no hard-headed one, anyway. They can only go where the lines ago, and the steel-on-steel traction means that they are energy inefficient (they have to be heavy) and can't climb hills. I understand that an electrically powered coach has environmental attractions and a degree of future-proofing - but why not trolley buses? They don't need track laid, and I assume with modern battery technology could extend their range beyond the reach of the overhead power supply - you wouldn't need cable all the way to Edinburgh Airport in order to run a trolley bus service to it.

I think trams are lovely where they already exist, and it makes sense to work an existing asset - but why introduce them as new when there are better alternatives?