Leader: ‘City people must learn to love them’

IN a city centre reverberating to the sound of Festival season, the high-pitched grating of an Edinburgh tram at the Gogarburn depot barely caused a ripple yesterday.

But Wednesday, August 22, 2012 was a significant day for this benighted project, for it was the moment the city council finally allowed an ordinary person on to a moving Edinburgh tram. And yes, they do work.

Experts, staff, advisers and other stakeholders have all witnessed this £776 million transport “miracle” in action, but letting the public or their representatives near it has until now been avoided.

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The oft-repeated phrase about the trams is that once they are up-and-running, the public will quickly grow to love them. After yesterday’s demo, we can see why. They are impressive, smooth and comfortable – if you can get a seat (on a full tram, two-thirds of passengers will stand).

Significantly, transport leader Lesley Hinds announced that trips on the trams and guided tours of the Gogarburn depot will offered to the public as part of a charm offensive. Fair enough. The project is still two years from completion and if ever a hunk of metal needed PR it is this one.

Allowing taxpayers a chance to whet their appetite over what is coming is a good thing.

The council also revealed that residents and business leaders will make future decisions on transport policy in the Capital through a special forum. The body is expected to have a say on a range of transport issues, and members would – importantly – be consulted on any proposal to extend the tram line.

The trams will only be deemed a success in the longer term if the first line is extended. That is why the people of Edinburgh must ultimately learn to love them if they are to become part of the fabric of Scotland’s capital.

Put a sock on it

You can’t help but love a sporting hero who keeps his Olympic medals in his sock drawer.

Step forward canoeist David Florence, who has clearly not lost touch with his roots in Roseburn.

An awful lot has been said in recent weeks about the humility and sporting attitude of the Team GB athletes.

So much so that comparing their behaviour with that of some highly-paid footballers has become almost a sport in its own right.

David’s great skill and character certainly make him a fantastic inspiration for our young people.

It’s just a shame that Edinburgh youngsters aren’t about to see him parading through the streets.