Tram statistics

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I am grateful to John Carson for correcting me on the Nottingham tram statistics (Letters, 27 August); the latest figures do indeed show a drop in patronage.

The operating company has attributed this to the combined local effects of the recession in the East Midlands and the withdrawal of various multi-modal tickets because of tightening competition rules.

Nevertheless, the same Department for Transport (DfT) report to which Mr Carson refers ­highlights that light rail use in England continues to rise, with an overall growth of 9 per cent in 2012-13, reaching the highest ever level in the modern era of 222 million passenger trips.

The DfT report also shows that the Nottingham tram earned £8.5 million in revenue in 2012-13.

Last week’s report to the City of Edinburgh Council estimates a total revenue of £7.7m from the first year of tram operation, of which two-thirds is anticipated from “premium” fares to the airport, with only £2.4m coming from the normal £1.50 fare.

This estimate of income translates to total patronage figures of around 3 million trips, a very ­cautious expectation, and well below the 7.4 million trips made in Nottingham in 2012-13.

Given that Mr Carson has long campaigned against the trams, and I have long supported them, we will just have to wait and see whether pessimism or optimism is the better philosophy to follow.

Robert Drysdale

Primrose Bank Road

Edinburgh

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