‘Details are positive sign of progress’

THE MOVE to hire a conductor for every Edinburgh tram may raise a few eyebrows today.

As will the news that they will be enforcing fines of up to £1000 for offences ranging from playing an iPod too loudly to drunken rioting.

Some will no doubt feel that as many other tram networks can survive with driver-only vehicles this particular blast from the past is an unnecessary extravagance. Critics may well complain that the level of the fines – far higher than those currently at the disposal of Lothian Buses – make it look like a cash cow.

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But while some of the rules can be easily ridiculed, they do at the end of the day make sense.

The majority of the paying public when they – hopefully – step on to the tram in around 18 months from now will find little difficulty with complying.

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And they will welcome the presence of a conductor who will offer a level of customer service and security which can be missing from other public transport.

The very fact that details such as these are now being discussed and put in place ready for the tram to start running is a positive sign of progress in the project.

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That our councillors’ time can be taken up discussing the level of fine for leaving chewing gum on a seat rather than whether the line will be built at all should be welcomed.

As long as the bye-laws announced today are enforced fairly and with commonsense then there should be no issues.

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After all, after spending £776 million on the tram, we should make sure that they are looked after properly.

Just get it built

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IT is staggering that we are about to waste up to £2.9 million patching up a crumbling school building that is soon to be closed anyway.

Of course, while hundreds of pupils continue to be taught in the existing Portobello High building then it has to be kept safe.

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But the Capital’s biggest high school is now in such a state that keeping it open even for the shortest possible time is going to cost £2.3m in essential repairs. And that bill will only go up for every year that the project is delayed.

The school should never have been allowed to get into such a terrible condition and these huge repair bills simply add insult to injury.

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But the priority now has to be building a first-class replacement as quickly as possible.

These new figures only add weight to our repeated call in recent months to Get it Built – first and foremost for the good of its 1300 pupils, but also for the benefit of all city council taxpayers.