SUPPORTERS of an Evening News campaign to allow over-60s to travel free on the trams have told of their delight after politicians gave in to pressure.
City council and Scottish Government chiefs have agreed that pensioners and the disabled can use their bus passes on the tram line when it begins operating.
Hundreds of readers backed our Fare Deal For Over-60s campaign, and they along with charities today hailed the victory.
Age Scotland said free travel allowed vulnerable people to remain active.
A spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely delighted that Edinburgh City Council have made the decision to allow older people and the disabled to use their concessionary cards.
“This helps to ensure that everyone can benefit from this new mode of transport. These passes were an extremely positive development for older people – they help them get about the city easily and stay involved with their community and it’s fantastic that they have been extended to the trams.”
Evening News readers took to our website yesterday to support the move.
One user wrote: “This is great news, after putting up with all the upheaval and mismanagement of the tram project, at least the needy people of Edinburgh will get to use it for free.
“Pensioners living on a tight budget will be able to get out and about with their free passes, enjoy the ride and perhaps even reminisce about the trams from the old days.”
Another added: “That has cheered me up no end! OAPs have worked hard all our lives and contributed to society. Concessionary travel is good for pensioners – it means they can get out and about if they so wish. Much better than being anchored to the TV in the living room.”
The Evening News campaign also got a mention in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, with Transport Minister Keith Brown making reference to yesterday’s editorial, which was headlined “The decision is victory for common sense”.
The city council is expected to press the Scottish Government to help fund the free travel, but ministers are so far refusing to commit.
Margo MacDonald, Independent MSP for the Lothians, said: “As far as I can see, concession for travel in Edinburgh should be just that and there should be exactly the same concession on the trams as on the buses, and the buses must not be cannibalised to support the trams.
“I would like to see a subsidy for perhaps the first two or three years and after that a review should be done to see how well the trams fit in with the bus service.”