Trams in a hole

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Robert Drysdale accepts he got the tram figures wrong for Nottingham (Letters, 28 August). His reply also accepts that the passenger numbers for the Edinburgh trams predicted by the Tram Project team are wrong (his three million against their eight million passengers). Therefore, there can be no economic argument for trams in Edinburgh.

However, Mr Drysdale regularly gets confused between revenue and overall profit and loss.

The Edinburgh Tram Business Case contained an intrinsic promise to the people of Edinburgh that the trams would not cost them a penny, instead we now face £30 million or more a year of costs/losses including debt repayments, operating losses from the trams and loss of dividend from Lothian Buses.

The argument for me is not for and against trams, it has now and always has been polarised into the “rational” against the ­“irrational”.

Mr Drysdale estimates the ­patronage to be three million, City of Edinburgh council says the trams need eight million to make a profit over the next 15 years, though this too ignores the issue of capital repayments and loss of Lothian Buses’ dividends.

The reality, given the intrinsic promise from the city council, is that the trams need between 30 and 40 million passengers a year to break even.

John RT Carson

 Kirkliston Road

South Queensferry

It WAS of interest to read John RT Carson’s letter (27 August) regarding the trams. I would argue there are more problems ahead.

Even with the few glimpses I have had of the ongoing construction over the years, as I travel back and forth on the East Coast rail line between Waverley and London Euston, there would seem to be yet another serious oversight in the grand design.

Given how open to the elements the tram-line platforms seem to be – and the vagaries and even extremes of Scotland’s weather, not least in the winter with wind, horizontal rain and snow being not unusual – what seems to be on offer at the moment as far as shelter and overhead protection can only be described as being of the barest minimum. Lord help those waiting to alight the tram as and when it arrives at each of the stops on route.

This does not seem to bode well for the comfort and enjoyment of any future traveller on the trams. Maybe someone in the know would care to enlighten us as to the detail on this matter?

Neil McKinnon

Tulchan Garden

Glenalmond, Perth