COUNCIL chiefs are slashing the cost of trams from Ingliston – to encourage motorists to use a park-and-ride scheme.
Transport chiefs are planning to cut the single ticket price from £2.50 to a flat £1.50 for drivers who leave their vehicle at the Ingliston park-and-ride facility and take the tram into the city.
The change means the journey will cost the same as a standard tram or bus trip for an adult in Edinburgh.
Children will be charged 70p.
The drop is designed to encourage more workers to commute into central Edinburgh using the £776 million tram line.
Journeys to and from Gogarburn using the tram – another trip that was to attract the £2.50 premium fare – would also be reduced.
City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “The park-and-ride is not used to its full capacity at the moment and there is an opportunity to expand it if we wanted. I actually see quite an exciting time for that park-and-ride in terms of keeping cars out of the city centre, but also giving people options of how they travel around Edinburgh.”
Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir said slashing the park-and-ride fare from Ingliston made sense if the numbers stacked up.
He said: “The sad fact of the matter is that the tram has to wipe its feet financially. You have to get backsides on seats. It can’t just clatter along without anybody on it.
“I’ve got a history of being critical of this project, but it’s almost built now and quite frankly this needs to work because the only losers in this if it doesn’t work are the people of Edinburgh.”
Mr Keir said creating more housing close to Edinburgh Park by rezoning land from commercial to residential was another solution to getting more people onto the trams.
Edinburgh Park is one of the final stops on the line heading out to the airport.
Iain Moffatt, committee member from the Cammo Residents’ Association, welcomed the fare reduction, but predicted Ingliston park-and-ride would mostly be used by a limited number of residents living in a western corridor that included Ratho and Maybury.
He said: “Sadly for anyone living north of Maybury, it’s not really terribly useful because we’ve still got to get effectively from Queensferry Road across to pick up the tram.
“Personally, it would have been great if we’d been able to use it and I speak purely and simply as the carer of a disabled person, because we’ve experimented with those trams and they’re much easier to get on and off with a wheelchair than a bus.”
Ratho Community Council chairwoman Judy Wightman said: “We’d be very, very angry if it wasn’t the same price because we don’t know what the future bus service from Ratho into Edinburgh is going to be.”
Passengers travelling out to the airport will still be charged £4.50 one way and £7.50 return as announced in September.
There are a total of 1085 parking spaces at Ingliston, including 46 disabled bays.
Commuters are not charged for parking at the facility. The park-and-ride site opens from 5.45am weekdays and shuts at midnight.
‘I’ll switch to trams’
RATHO retiree Campbell Gillan plans to be one of the first people to catch the tram from Ingliston for the revised £1.50 single fare.
The 66-year-old – a committee member of Ratho Community Council – often uses the bus to travel into Edinburgh for shopping, but intends to switch over to taking the tram from the nearby park-and-ride facility when the line opens.
He said: “It’s good that it’ll be just £1.50. There will definitely be more people using the park-and-ride from the west of Edinburgh.
“They used to have a bus called the ‘number 48’ that ran until about a year-and-a-half ago and it ran straight from the park-and-ride into town.
“The funding for that went and it meant people had this long journey.
tram will improve matters.”