Alastair Byres and Norman Steven played a part in Edinburgh’s history back in November 1956 – they both rode the last ever tram to take to the Capital’s streets.
Yesterday, they helped make tram history yet again, joining us for our media launch event as we prepared for the big day today. As they looked over photographs commemorating that last ever trip in 1956, it brought home to me how significant an event the start of Edinburgh’s new trams is.
We cannot underestimate how incredibly challenging the tram project has been for the people of this city. Now that they are here, though, there seems to be a growing positivity in the air about the start of a brand new transport service.
Two years ago, when the Capital Coalition was formed, I pledged to do everything in my power to ensure we brought this project in on the revised budget and revised schedule. It was never going to be straight-forward, but with an incredible team effort and a focus on results, it’s great to be where we are today.
I know from first-hand experience how trams can transform and enhance a city and I am determined Edinburgh should make the very most of the opportunities ahead.
I hope that everyone who uses a tram in these first few days and weeks enjoys the experience. We’ll be monitoring things very closely to make sure the system is performing as best it can – these are the early days of a brand new transport system and it needs time to bed in.
n Lesley Hinds is council convener of transport and environment, and chair of Transport for Edinburgh