‘Keith Brown, 
it’s now over to 
you to sort out’

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Throughout all the grief that building the trams has brought, we always had the consolation of knowing there would be a pay-off.

We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not it was worth it, but we all expected to end up with a service that would improve life in the city, to some degree.

And that certainly promises to be true for the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors who will use the city centre to airport line – an estimated five million times in its first year alone.

Comfortable, quick, and to salve our consciences environmentally-friendly too, they should be a pleasure to travel on.

But there is an elephant in the room when we talk about the trams.

The plan has always been that they would largely replace local bus services along the eight-mile route. There is, after all, no point in running both alongside each other.

So what happens if the Scottish Government does not include trams in its concessionary travel scheme?

Anyone over 60 or disabled will see most of the free bus services they currently enjoy withdrawn, to be replaced by a tram which they will have to pay to go on.

Some won’t be able to afford to travel on it regularly, many more will choose the bus in an effort to make their pension go that bit further. Either way, they will be left with a second-class service.

That would create a form of age apartheid on the Capital’s public transport which would be totally unacceptable.

When Transport Scotland signed off the trams business plan in 2007, it was crystal clear that the system relied on being included in the free travel scheme.

So we have to be optimistic that Transport Minister Keith Brown will in due course stand by that commitment and confirm the free travel scheme will be extended to the trams. Over to you, Mr Brown.

Brave decision

VisitScotland’s decision to support the Disney-Pixar film Brave has been vindicated again at the 70th Golden Globes overnight. The film, which tells the tale of brave Princess Merida, took the best animation trophy at the awards. It is also up for an Oscar.

Some have already suggested that backing Brave has been a flop after Scottish tourism figures this summer proved weak.

But Brave was never going to provide instant return. The real power of the movie will only be felt in years to come as those who loved the film grow up and make that longed-for visit to Edinburgh and Scotland.