Transport go-slow

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The small flurry of anti-tram letters in your columns recently is a sad reflection of the mindset of a section of Edinburgh’s citizens who would stop at nothing to stop everything. No change here, please, this is Edinburgh.

For more than 40 years our city prevaricated and dithered about how to improve its transport 
system in the wake of closure of the tram and suburban railway systems. During that time various schemes came and went, including the terrifying Buchanan Plan for urban motorways, but nothing was done.

Other cities in the UK and ­Europe forged ahead with new public transport systems, but ­Edinburgh’s eyes and ears ­remained closed to these innovations elsewhere.

Even when we finally saw the light with the idea of a tram ­system, we insisted on doing it our own misguided way instead of learning from other cities with tram experience, and in the process created a financial disaster.

Yes, we have a good bus service, with a clean, modern fleet, but a sizeable proportion of the city’s population never uses them. Why not?

Because many people are in a hurry, and our buses are agonisingly slow. Our local 23 bus achieves an average 6mph on its 20-minute trundle into town.

In 1962, the train from Granton Road only took 14 minutes to reach Princes Street, following a much longer route. Some progress! In the long run, rail-based transport systems will be the only way of keeping people moving around cities at a reasonable speed. Eventually, that penny will drop in Edinburgh, but long after most other cities have seen the light.

Robert Drysdale

Primrose Bank Road