Plan for earlier trams and more on Sunday

'Red-eye' trams will run earlier to and from the airport for a six-week trial period starting. Picture: Neil Hanna
'Red-eye' trams will run earlier to and from the airport for a six-week trial period starting. Picture: Neil Hanna
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TRAMS will run more frequently on Sundays to coincide with plans to introduce parking charges in the city centre.

Earlier “red-eye” trams will also operate from Edinburgh Airport from next month in a six-week experiment.

The Sunday service would be stepped up from every 12-15 minutes to nearer the weekday off-peak frequency of every ten minutes.

The improvement could be introduced next year after plans last month revealed that free Sunday car parking was set to be ditched in the city centre.

Consultation on the charges is due to get under way today.

Interim tram general manager Ian Craig said: “We’re seeing healthy passenger numbers and there’s certainly an opportunity to look at increasing Sunday frequencies.

“Further development of the tram service can be a key part of our push to enhance the offer for our customers.

“Edinburgh’s economy is growing and as a result we expect to see more movement around the city.

“The tram service, integrated with the bus network, continues to play a key role in that development and adapting the service to take advantage of the opportunities will be essential.”

Gavin Booth, director of watchdog Bus Users Scotland, said: “It would be good to see Sunday frequencies increasing, as the tram offers an excellent service right to the heart of the city without the hassle of traffic congestion and parking problems.”

City council transport leader Lesley Hinds said: “We welcome the suggestion to increase tram frequency on Sundays, which I think would reflect the growing demand for the service.

“We know more people are shopping, dining out and visiting Edinburgh’s attractions seven days a week.”

Trams will start running from the airport at 4.46am – an hour-and-a-half earlier than now.

The first tram to the airport will leave the York Place terminus in the city centre half an hour earlier at 5am.

The new services will be trialled for six weeks from Monday, October 19.

They are aimed at early-morning air passengers and airport workers, and commuters using the nearby Ingliston park-and-ride site to travel into the city.

Mr Craig said of the red-eye trial: “It’s important to remember this extension will only last six weeks initially and then go back to normal so we can assess the findings properly with our maintenance contractors.

“Once that work is complete then full consideration can be given to a permanent extension of service.”