‘Laughable’ tram stop shelters won’t stop rain

The Ingliston tram stop shelter, which critics say may not be effective. ''Picture: Neil Hanna
The Ingliston tram stop shelter, which critics say may not be effective. ''Picture: Neil Hanna
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IN some cities they are a luxurious waiting area with temperature controls and even padded seating.

But when tram shelters finally line the streets of Edinburgh, passengers can expect to feel the full force of the 
elements.

Critics have blasted the “laughable” designs for failing to cater for the Capital’s changeable weather.

Simon Johnstone, Tramways and Urban Transit magazine editor, said they looked good but questioned their ability to “shelter”.

He said: “Some of the stops in the Middle East and North America have air conditioning because of the climate but you have to ask whether the tram stop designers have taken into account the climate in Edinburgh when they’ve designed these.”

The shelters on the eight-mile route to the city centre are 8ft wide and between 13ft and 40ft long, with longer stops at the airport and Haymarket.

Those with the smallest shelters include at Ingliston park and ride, the Gyle shopping centre, Edinburgh Park, Bankhead, Saughton and Balgreen.

Alistair Laing, 75, a retired civil engineer, said they were barely worth having, describing them as “an absolute mess”. He said: “What sort of weather protection are they meant to offer? Rain doesn’t always come down vertically. It sometimes rains horizontally so people will get soaked.

“Bus shelters offer some protection with three sides but what’s a one-sided tram shelter going to do?”

There are also concerns that the glass and steel structures on the £776 million line will be too small for disabled tram users.

MS sufferer Kirsty Kerr, 50, from Colinton, said: “They may look pretty but they’re not very practical. It’s not very good for disabled people. Are we supposed to stay outside and get soaking wet whenever it rains? It will actually discourage people from using the tram.”

A council spokeswoman said they had been designed to maximise space and increase passenger flow.

Peter Wilson, an architect and director of business development for Napier University’s Centre for Timber Engineering, believes the designers have failed to create something that fitted the spirit of the city.

He said: “For visitors to Edinburgh these things are simply unmemorable except when the weather is bad and its discovered they fail to deliver any shelter at all.”