Experts lined up to oversee running of city trams

Trams were recently tested in the City Centre. Pic: Toby Wiliams
Trams were recently tested in the City Centre. Pic: Toby Wiliams
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EXPERTS in transport law, ticketing and integrated travel have completed the line-up for the umbrella body which will oversee the trams.

Solicitor Ann Faulds, academic Dr Steve Cassidy and long-serving transport specialist Tony Depledge will be £8000-a-year non-executive directors at Transport for Edinburgh for the next two years.

The board will be chaired by city transport convener Lesley Hinds and will meet for the first time on Wednesday.

Transport for Edinburgh will be responsible for overseeing both tram and bus services, with ticketing tipped as one of the first priorities.

The eight-mile tram route from Edinburgh Airport to York Place is due to start running by May at the latest.

Councillor Hinds said: “I’m confident that we now have a good balance of experience and expertise that can really drive Edinburgh’s integrated transport agenda. Our membership gives us public transportation expertise, transport research knowledge, legal nous and a deep understanding of what makes Edinburgh tick.

“This is a brand new approach to transport in our city and, with our new members and with existing expertise from Lothian Buses, we’re very well placed to develop an organisation that can contribute to Edinburgh’s future 

Three other councillors – Steve Cardownie, Joanna Mowat and Nigel Bagshaw – will also sit on the board as non-executive directors.

Four senior directors from Lothian Buses, led by chief executive Ian Craig, complete the group. The councillors and Lothian Buses executive directors will receive no extra cash.

The final three non-executive directors were appointed at yesterday’s full city council meeting.

Councillor Mowat described the board’s make-up as “highcalibre”.

She said: “Hopefully we can deliver integrated transport. We’re probably going to set up six-month strategies initially as the first thing we do.

“The first job we’ve got to do is to get a tram up and running successfully on Princes Street – that will be the number one challenge at the moment.

“It will be in place by May next year. We’ll have to make sure that’s going smoothly and working.

“Ticketing will be huge. Getting ticketing right and looking at the future of ticketing, and working with Lothian Buses to do that, will be a key driver in getting people on to the trams.”

A virtual ticket service where fares can be paid for and displayed on smartphones across all Lothian Buses routes was introduced last month and has been tipped to be expanded to include the trams.

Transport for Edinburgh is due to return a profit of 
£3.7 million in its fourth year under the organisation’s 15-year model.