Comment: Not much to choose between two

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hands up everyone who expected the tram to get to the city centre faster than the airport bus.

No-one can blame you if you have kept your hands down.

Those old adverts claiming the airport bus makes the journey in 25 minutes – a whole eight minutes faster than the tram – have a lot to answer for. Many people in Edinburgh, perhaps most, now
believe that it is faster than the tram even if bus bosses have now completely abandoned the 25-minute claim.

Our head-to-head test of the two was, of course, far from scientific. It was a bit of fun, but interesting nonetheless.

The tram beat the bus even without the extra hold-ups that the bus might have expected during rush hour. And it would have won by a couple of minutes even without the unfortunate breakdown which hit the bus we caught.

What it goes to show perhaps more than anything else is that there is not much to choose between the two in terms of speed from the airport to the city centre.

And that on its own will not make much difference to most travellers. The vast majority of airport passengers will choose how they make the journey into town for other reasons. Cost might be more important to them or the convenience of the stops, whether it is the bus stop in Corstorphine or the tram halt in Murrayfield that suits them best. Many will have reasons for continuing to travel in their car or for catching a taxi.

What is clear is that the 
£776 million spent has not given us a far faster means of getting from the airport to the city centre than the bus. That is not one of the tram’s selling points – and supporters would argue that it never was its big appeal. What the tram line does offer is a convenient way of getting large numbers of people around certain parts of the city without clogging up our already busy roads and polluting the air any further.