Driver holds up tram after parking on tracks

The car obstructed the trams. Picture:  Ian Rhodes
The car obstructed the trams. Picture: Ian Rhodes
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IT has taken seven years to build, boasts cutting-edge technology and weighs in at a hefty £776 million – but it can all be brought to a standstill by a dozy parker.

Tram bosses were left fuming with a city driver on Monday after he carelessly abandoned his dark grey BMW 5 Series on a loading bay in South St Andrew Street – more than a yard from the kerb and jutting into the tram tracks.

Picture:  Ian Rhodes

Picture: Ian Rhodes

His terrible parking meant a tram testing the tracks was unable to pass for more than ten minutes and resulted in a £60 fine for the motorist, believed to be in his late 20s.

A crowd of more than a dozen people gathered to watch the tram-ateur dramatics as the man’s passenger returned to find two parking wardens ticketing the car.

And he brazenly attempted to talk his friend out of a ticket – even as a second tram arrived from York Place to also find its way blocked.

The driver eventually returned from the direction of Princes Street and jumped in his motor before speeding off – just minutes before a recovery vehicle arrived to cart his car away.

Ian Rhodes, 61, from Tollcross, was on hand to capture the drama on his cameraphone.

He said: “I came walking down from St Andrew Square and saw the tram stopped up ahead, I thought it had broken down.

“It was when I got nearer that I realised this idiot was holding up the whole thing. The tram was stopped for over ten minutes and people were going in and out of nearby shops to try and find the driver.

“Eventually after a call from his passenger he arrived looking pretty sheepish, they then jumped in and sped off.”

Mr Rhodes has also told how the biggest surprise resulting from the incident was the outpouring of anger and frustration towards the driver for holding up the tram.

He added: “Folk were shouting for the police and for a tow truck. A number of guys were talking about trying to lift the car out of the way, everyone was fuming that the guy had been so insensitive.

“It was odd to see everyone on the side of the trams and the wardens – a wee cheer even went up when the guy finally moved the car.”

Council officials have told how the issue of parking within loading bays and near tram tracks by inconsiderate drivers has been noticed at several locations throughout the city at South St Andrew Street, West Maitland Street and Haymarket Yards.

With this in mind a rapid response recovery truck has been set on standby to race to the scene of any blockages along the 8.7 mile tram route from Gogar to York Place.

And they have warned that any driver whose car gets lifted by the tow truck will face a £180 fine for its recovery.

City transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “We continue to actively enforce parking and waiting restrictions along the tram route, paying particular attention to South St Andrew Street, West Maitland Street and Haymarket Yards.

“Any vehicle parked irresponsibly along the tram route risks being issued with a ticket and, if necessary, removed, so that we can ensure the smooth running of the trams. Vehicle owners can incur a £180 charge to recover their vehicle if it’s removed.”