The City of Edinburgh Council are set to agree a change in maintenance arrangements for the Edinburgh Trams network which will see Edinburgh Trams Ltd take on all maintenance of the trams and infrastructure – a long planned change. Currently this is the responsibility of the Council with Edinburgh Trams Ltd only responsible for operating the service but, if agreed by the Transport and Environment Committee, this arrangement will change going forward.
The operating arrangement currently in place has always had a proviso for maintenance to be transferred to Edinburgh Trams and this is what is now planned with a new operating agreement due to be drawn up. The new arrangements have already been approved by both the Tram and Transport for Edinburgh Boards so it is just the Council left to agree the plan.
The agreement would see Edinburgh Trams Ltd having to pay the Council an annual asset fee of £8.5 million for the use of the tram infrastructure. This would mean that the company would move from being profitable to loss making in the near term. It would, however, have the advantage that Edinburgh Trams could improve value for money by directly managing contracts for the vehicles, infrastructure and systems.
Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener, commented: “It’s a reflection of how well Edinburgh Trams is performing as a company that we feel they are now ready to take on the responsibility for maintenance costs – as was always the plan when the current arrangements were agreed. Their continued growth in passenger numbers, improved service frequency and excellent and indeed award-winning customer service point to their readiness for this transfer of responsibility.”
Lea Harrison, Managing Director of Edinburgh Trams, added: “n less than five years of passenger service, we have proven ourselves as a competent operator of the tramway by returning an operating profit through sustained increases in patronage, revenue and customer satisfaction. The proposal to add additional responsibility to the agreement is recognition of our efforts and demonstrates the Council’s belief in our organisational maturity and our ability to make cost savings for the city.”
The decision on whether to approve this new operating agreement will be made at a meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee on 6th December.