TRADERS in the West End are preparing for a massive rise in trade as the final tram roadworks are finally lifted this weekend after five years of disruption.
Businesses which have survived the work, which first began in 2008, say this disruption-free Christmas could be their “saving grace” followed by a predicted boom in footfall when the tram actually begins running.
Michael Apter, chairman for the West End Association, said some businesses had already noticed a surge in footfall ahead of Shandwick Place reopening again for the first time in 21 months.
He said: “There’ll be people punching the air in silent jubilation on Saturday morning when they see the buses running down Shandwick Place. I’m sure it will be [a saving grace] this Christmas.”
He added: “There are new businesses, new places to eat and drink that people might not have discovered before.
“I know people in Queensferry Street, who having seen the bus gate reopen ten days ago, are already trading up on the previous year and seeing more interest and more customers coming in through their doors.
“They’ve already taken away a lot of the fences on Shandwick Place and that had already changed the dynamic of the area by lunchtime.
“There was more people walking down Shandwick Place than I’ve seen in weeks or months.”