Cabbies fear insurance cost of tram crashes

The damage sustained by the tram in the collision with the taxi near Haymarket Station. Picture: contributed
The damage sustained by the tram in the collision with the taxi near Haymarket Station. Picture: contributed
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A COLLISION between a taxi and a tram in the city centre has sparked fears that repeated accidents could push up insurance costs for cabbies.

Taxi bosses said their insurance premiums could soar if there are repeated collisions with Edinburgh’s tram network.

The warning came after a black cab collided with a tram yesterday near Haymarket Station, causing delays for area travellers just after 4pm.

A Transport for Edinburgh spokesman said there had been “minor damage” to the tram, and added that both drivers were able to exchange details and move away from the scene.

He said: “We will be reviewing the incident in line with standard procedure.”

The incident was the network’s second crash in a week – and the fifth in three months.

On Tuesday afternoon, a bus collided with a tram car, causing travel chaos for West End drivers.

Other trams were forced to stop at Shandwick Place and caused congestion as a result, with one blocking the junction with Torphichen Street until the damaged vehicle was removed.

Tony Kenmuir, boss of leading Capital firm Central Taxis, said repeated accidents with the £2 million tram carriages could drive up excess fees.

“If a taxi was found to be at fault striking a tram, that would bring up premiums for all of us,” he explained.

“They don’t adjust premiums on a speculative basis, and so we haven’t seen costs affected just because there is a possibility of collision.

“But if they become a regular occurrence, there will be an affect.”

He also added that area taxi bosses had already raised concerns with Transport for Edinburgh (TfE) officials concerning one particular danger spot near Harvey Nichols – where he said there have been “a number of close calls” between taxis and trams.

“We have approached TfE management about a potential danger where trams are stopping at St Andrew Square and head on north towards York Place, because taxis using Hanover Street pop out along the trams’ path, and are creating a potential hazard because the drivers have to break downhill.

“That’s the only real dialogue we’ve had to establish with TfE so far, but drivers are still getting used to the network.”

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said it was worth looking at the example of other cities that had successfully overcome teething problems following the roll-out of modern tram systems.

“It’s still quite early days here in Edinburgh, and there are bound to be a few close calls and minor collisions,” he said.

“But overall, if you look at cities like Manchester, you see very few incidents taking place.

“The trams themselves are extremely safe, and they move fairly slowly along predictable routes.

“I don’t think collisions are very common.”

There have so far been five collisions since the Edinburgh tram network launched operations earlier this year.