Driving campaign bid to stop tram crashes

A collision between a bus and a tram at West Maitland Street in August. Picture: Greg Macvean
A collision between a bus and a tram at West Maitland Street in August. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A NEW road safety campaign is set to be launched in a bid to reduce the number of collisions between trams and other traffic.

The drive will focus on cars, buses and cyclists and comes on the back of a string of high-profile crashes. Tram boss Tom Norris said collisions causing delays had the “biggest impact” on passengers over the past seven months – but insisted in all cases “there has been nothing our drivers could have done to avoid the situation”.

In August, a collision between a tram and a bus on West Maitland Street was blamed on a “reckless cyclist” swerving into the path of the bus, causing it to veer to the side. And in October, concerns were raised over the mounting toll of accidents after a bus crashed into a tram for the third time in three months in the West End.

In an overview of the year posted on the Edinburgh Trams website, Mr Norris, pictured left, praised his staff and said the trams were “busier than ever” – exceeding expectations for both passengers journeys and revenue.

Earlier this month, officials revealed the number of passengers was on course to smash the three million mark before the end of the month.

But bosses have so far refused to reveal how many passengers are concessionary fares – such as pensioners who travel free – leaving question marks hanging over how much cash the network is generating.

Mr Norris wrote: “By the end of the year, all being well, we may exceed three million passenger journeys. Our safety record and service punctuality remains strong and we are planning a big campaign in the early new year focused on other road users.”

He added: “The company success is testament to the superb team who deliver our service. I’d personally like to thank our drivers, ticketing service assistants, controllers and the management and support teams for their enthusiasm, commitment and customer focus throughout the year while delivering a new public transport offering in Edinburgh – you have done yourselves and the city proud.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, insisted continuing to promote safety issues was of vital importance.

She said: “With the launch of Edinburgh Trams, our [Twitter-based] #carefulnow campaign successfully targeted other road users to raise awareness of the new service and advise on how best to take precautions when travelling nearby.

“Though the trams are now a familiar sight on the city’s streets after six months of service, this is no grounds for complacency, and we must continue to promote tram and bus safety messages to the public, especially at this time of year when the nights are darker.”