Tram drivers: ‘Worrying lack of transparency creeping back in’

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The Evening News reported last month on how Lothian Buses planned to hire 11 drivers a full 18 months before the new Edinburgh tram line opens. The total cost of this is close to £500,000.

Why does the project need all these drivers so far in advance? This question went unanswered despite repeated calls.

Now we are closer to the truth.

A whistleblower has contacted the News to reveal that these drivers will work Monday to Friday simply driving the trams round and round on a test track to stop them seizing up while in storage.

We asked Lothian Buses, who are hiring the drivers. It said it was unable to comment.

Another half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money being spent because the design of these vehicles means they cannot be stationary for too long.

There will be huge anger among ordinary residents about this further use of public cash.

But there is a worrying wider issue: the lack of transparency that is again creeping in over the trams.

Multiple mistakes have been made in the past over this project. We now need to see it up and running – and hopefully it will become a success for the city.

Part of that must involve keeping those who are paying for the project – the citizens of Edinburgh – up to date with what is going on.

Keeping the lid on bad news will not restore confidence in the trams or do much for the Labour-SNP administration which has so far made a good start in office.

Is fans’ love justified?

Madonna’s first concert in Scotland has short-changed her most loyal fans. Those who bought tickets for tomorrow’s concert at Murrayfield early, have now learned that hundreds of briefs are being given away for free on the Ticketmaster website. In effect thousands will have paid £125 for a ticket – and some £400 for a VIP package – while others will watch the whole thing for free.

Promoters have for the second time this week blamed a “computer glitch” for the what has happened. But Madge’s fans aren’t so daft.

This is an easy way to ensure that the stadium does not look empty for a gig that many had thought would sell out quickly.

It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And Madonna, a woman who understands publicity and PR better than most, must realise that gambling with her fans’ loyalty in this way could ultimately backfire on the material girl.