Fair tram fares

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Should a national concessionary scheme for the over 60s apply to travel on the Edinburgh trams when they are fully operational?

I noted the joy of both transport minister Keith Brown and Edinburgh transport convener Lesley Hinds over the inaugural passenger runs (your report, 9 March). But so far only a concessionary scheme for residents within the city council area has been considered.

The entire project has been very controversial. But there is no doubt that money allocated from the Scottish Government’s block grant got the venture under way.

That was initial money allocated ten years ago by the then Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition at Holyrood under transport minister Iain Gray.

Despite opposition from the minority SNP administration, more was allocated after 2007. This has to be considered as a scheme funded in the main by all Scottish taxpayers. A concessionary scheme should apply to all Scottish citizens as well.

Part of the rationale for the Edinburgh trams was it would help provide a modern transport scheme that would allow the city to compete (for tourists, conferences, inward investment) on the international stage.

It should help project the city as a national treasure, one which benefits citizens from throughout the country.

People over 60 ought to be able to visit the capital and travel by tram free of charge. In these austere times it may seem to some that “another freebie” would be an unnecessary luxury.

But it is a price the Scottish Government should pay, and not just to help gain national goodwill for the completed project. It might help progress towards a modern integrated transport scheme too.

Bob Taylor