It comes after a new financial report, carried out on behalf of the council by London-based consultancy firm Steer, showed that the cost of cancelling the tram extension to Newhaven could be less than the cost of completion.
Via a post on our social media page, we asked our readers if they felt the extension should be continued. The post, which gathered more than 450 comments, split opinion across the Capital, with strong reasons on both sides of the debate.
Carole Adams said “No it should not be completed – wind it up now. We have a good enough bus service. Edinburgh tour buses can easily add Newhaven on their routes if there is a demand from tourists”, which was a sentiment echoed by many, including Jacqui Hood who responded by saying: “We have a tremendous bus service and the money saved by cancelling can go to restoring our city to the fantastic place it used to be instead of a demolition site.” Stephanie Hübner also agreed, adding: “It was a bad idea from the beginning anyway and never made sense. There are hundreds of buses going that way anyway and the traffic is already a mess during the rush hours.”
Many readers were unhappy that the money is not being spent elsewhere, with many struggling due to the pandemic.
Julie Logan, meanwhile, believes the tram extension should not be a priority, she said: “Many small businesses are struggling already because of this. Yes, cancel trams, there’s much more important things for the money to be spent on”, while Arty Arty would also spend the money elsewhere: “That money, in first place, should go to vulnerable people and to support family’s who struggle. Help homeless people who want to get on their feet.” they said.
Amanda Roy was also at a loss to understand why the money is spent elsewhere, saying: “No. Get libraries open again, fix the shocking roads and pavements, whatever - there’s plenty better ways to spend money.”
Brian Davie doesn’t believe it’s worth completing the tram extension either, he said: “Even if completed it will loose money every day it’s in operation. A single line tram will never cover its running costs, so get rid now.” Ian Herkes agreed it was bound to lose money, saying: “An absolute waste of money and it’s going to go bust one way or another.”
However, despite the strong calls for cancellation, many demanded it was completed.
Kirsty Welsh saying: “Just get on with it. We have sacrificed enough of our businesses for it and residents have endured so much upheaval that it would be a disgrace if it was all for nothing.” James Taylor also thinks it continue, to push Edinburgh into the future, commenting “Car usage is going to decline steadily soon so we'll need rapid transit systems in place to replace them. Better to complete the tram circuit now, rather than try to play catch-up in 20 years time.”
Fraser Maclean felt the extension “should be finished – and extended – connect it up to the Southside rail line”, while Christopher Boe was straight to the point, saying: “This absolutely must be completed.”