It’s a week of significant anniversaries with Edinburgh Trams celebrating their 5th birthday. Services in Edinburgh finally started on 31st May 2014 after a very problematic construction period but once it was up and running it was soon accepted into the transport infrastructure of the Scottish capital with passenger numbers continuing to increase year on year.
In total there have been more than 27.7 million passenger journeys since 2015 with a total growth of 40% between 2015 and 2018. In 2018 a total of 7.3 million passenger journeys were recorded across the Edinburgh Trams line between York Place and the Airport. And with an extension to follow to Newhaven with an expected doubling of passenger numbers following its opening the future continues to look bright for Edinburgh Trams.
To keep up with demand the timetable has been improved on several occasions with 23% more trams and seats now offered whilst journey times between the Airport and City Centre are now less than 30 minutes. Journeys to the Airport have in fact increased by 56% between 2015 and 2018 despite the controversial premium fare to the Airport stop.
Recent years have also seen a major increase in advertising with all 27 trams carrying adverts concurrently for most of the past year. The system has also led the way by becoming the first UK tramway to allow bikes on board – and even run special bike trams during the Pedal Scotland event.
Cllr Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council Leader, commented: “Trams have become a crucial part of Edinburgh’s transport system over the last five years, carrying millions of passengers on one of the most sustainable forms of travel. Working with and complementing our fantastic bus services, they have outstripped passenger and income forecasts and won hugely impressive industry awards for their excellent customer service and performance as an operator. As we look to expand tram services to more people in the city, the future success of the tram will be even more important to help Edinburgh move ahead.”
The success of Edinburgh Trams since opening is without doubt a success story and with maintenance contracts being moved to become the responsibility of Edinburgh Trams this should give further scope to improve the service even further as well as improve value for money.