TRAMS chiefs have been left red-faced after it emerged the city’s Spanish-built ticket machines will only accept euros.
The gleaming new machines, which have been installed at stops all along the eight-mile route, have been branded “worse than useless”, with opposition politicians demanding an immediate probe.
The mistake was apparently only spotted last week by a tourist who successfully bought a ticket with his change from home, only to be told he faced a wait of more than a month to get to York Place.
The city council has admitted there is no chance the machines will be converted in time and that there is no money left in the trams pot to carry out the work in any case.
Instead, it is investigating the possibility of temporary bureau de changes being set up close to the stops.
Incredibly, it is even considering leaving the machines as they are until after the independence referendum in case Scotland ends up having to adopt the euro.
One trader hit hard by years of tram disruption said he was “flabbergasted”.
“That this has gone unnoticed for so long is simply incredible, although it may have been because no-one could read what was written on them.
“We need a thorough investigation into what went wrong with the commissioning from the Spanish firm, an inquisition if you like.”
The firm which built the machines, Polof Rail, has since gone into administration, effectively leaving council chiefs to pick up the bill for any changes.
A city council spokesman said it was an “unfortunate error” but insisted there could be some hidden benefits.
“The ticket machines work perfectly well and have been thoroughly tested. The fact that they only accept euros is a minor hiccup and one which we can work with as this award-winning project progresses.
“We have plans for a range of new bureau de change operators who will be able to quickly convert your pounds at the tram stop.
“This will have the added benefit of giving the city centre a more continental feel and complement our plans to bring things like pavement cafes and street artists to Princes Street.”
Another insider added: “It makes sense to consider delaying any decision on the way forward until after September 18.
“We don’t want to change the machines to take the pound only to find out Salmond has us secretly signed up to join the euro – we’d end up looking pretty stupid.”
• Congratulations to those who correctly guessed this article was an April Fools.