Why Edinburgh tram fares should be quadrupled – Helen Martin

Edinburgh couldn’t afford its airport tram service and it can’t afford the new extension either, writes Helen Martin.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 6:00 am
Cutting pensioner tram passes will save just £690,000

SOME city folk love our trams. I hated them because our city couldn’t afford them and we owe long-standing millions in debt. I have used the trams only twice as a means of reaching the airport.

I wouldn’t care if I had to get the bus or a taxi instead. The tram route is so short I have no other reason to use it.

But now the route is to be extended it will become more useful to more people in the city, including pensioners who are on a tight budget, encouraged to get out and about, and to use public transport. That would be fine – if it didn’t pile on even more millions to put us in the red and ‘steal’ money from Lothian Buses.

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Ironically, it is now the council’s SNP-Labour coalition plan to block pensioners’ free fares on trams.

Even before the extension to Leith and Newhaven, estimated at £207million, the Council wants to save another £36 million. Yet cutting out pensioner tram passes will yield a drop in the ocean compared to that – a mere £690,000.

Whether that’s approved or not, it is hoisting a warning flag. If they start by hitting pensioners, what other cuts are coming? A fee for refuse collection, a public tax for street lights, a reduction of free school lunches?

The fact is, they couldn’t afford trams in the first place. Nor can they afford this extension. The only fair solution is leave pensioners free and quadruple the fares for others on this unaffordable and financially damning transport system.