Comment: The city’s tram service has earned its spurs

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congratulations are in order for the team behind Edinburgh’s trams.

From the most inauspicious of starts, thanks to the project’s botched construction process, the service has certainly carved out an impressive reputation.

Being recognised as the best tram and light rail operator in the UK, beating competition from other major cities including Newcastle and Manchester, is certainly a feather in the cap of the Capital’s team.

Some will remain unimpressed. It is easy to dismiss awards as mere baubles.

If the truth be told, there is often an element of “Buggins’ turn” about any industry awards no matter how prestigious. But there is no denying that the city’s tram service has earned its spurs over the last 17 months.

There is an easy way though to cut through the froth that comes on occassions like this.

The acid test for any public transport operator is not of course awards but the number of satisfied customers it attracts. With well over five million of them by now – the trams boast an impressive 95 per cent customer passenger satisfaction rating – the city certainly has something worth shouting about.

Contrast that with the scene last May when the launch of the trams had to be a pretty subdued affair due to the shambles that had gone before.

There are of course lots of questions that still need to be answered about the construction of the trams. What we have ended up with might be pretty darn good, but why on earth did it have to cost us so much?

With the public inquiry into the construction shambles about to get under way we should soon have a much clearer picture of what went wrong and who was to blame.

Once we have that we will be able to move on and properly consider the question of what next for the trams.