Tram meets bus in St Andrew Square to show off new look

An Edinburgh Tram made its way to St Andrew Square tram stop today where Transport for Edinburgh unveiled its newly branded vehicles.

Tram drivers and other operational staff were in the uniforms they’ll wear when passengers start using the service in Spring 2014.

Also set to be revealed later today is the new Edinburgh Trams website that will become fully operational when the tram service launches.

Lothian Buses vehicles will be updated as part of an ongoing process to align the fleet to the new look. Both vehicles will retain the ‘madder’ colour scheme.

Today also marks the handover of a 2.1km section of track between the Gogar Tram depot and Edinburgh Park Station. This means that nearly 5km of track is now in the hands of the Council, meaning that Edinburgh Trams can now make full use of the section for driver training.

Cllr Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener and Chair of Transport for Edinburgh, said:

“With full line testing underway and the trams now getting ready for service, everyone involved is completely focussed on service launch in Spring 2014. The new look has been developed economically in a way that reflects the integrated nature of the services offered and when trams get up and running I think customers will see the benefits.

“Transport for Edinburgh is a new approach to transport in our city, one that prioritises the customer and the future economic growth of Edinburgh. We’re already integrating ticketing, timetabling and customer services to make journeys easier but there’s much more opportunity ahead to develop wider transport policy in a way that benefits everyone who wants to get around the city, whether they use bus, tram, bike or go on foot.

“We are now in final stages of the tram project and with the track between Gogar and Edinburgh Park now available to Edinburgh Trams, our drivers and the wider team can further extend their training programme as we push towards a passenger service."

Ian Craig, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, said:

“Edinburgh’s love affair with its public transport system stretches back over 140 years and Transport for Edinburgh is the next evolutionary step to provide the City’s residents and visitors with the best possible integrated transport service. Within Lothian Buses we continually look at future technologies, be they environmental innovations with our fleet or looking at new ticketing options to provide our passengers with more choice.

“Transport for Edinburgh is a fantastic opportunity to join bus and tram operations together giving the capital the successful transport system that will be the envy of other cities. Our vision for Transport for Edinburgh is simple; to provide world class, environmentally and socially inclusive transport, that will be an integral part of the future success of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

“People will start to see the new logo branding on our bus vehicles from January next year and on all trams at operational service. In the short term there will be no direct changes that will affect our passengers; ridacards and pre-purchased tickets will still be valid for use.”

Transport Minister Keith Brown attended today’s launch to meet tram project contractors and to welcome the handover of the section between Gogar and Edinburgh Park Station. Welcoming the completion of works on this section Mr Brown said:

"This is a hugely significant week for Edinburgh's transport network. Today marks a significant milestone on the trams front, while part of the revamped Haymarket Station will re-open to rail passengers on Thursday.

"This is a welcome early Christmas present and builds on the recent momentum, meaning the public can see trams running through the city centre and begin to believe that the finishing line is in sight.

“Transport Scotland has played a key role in supporting City of Edinburgh Council and contractors to get the project back on track and will continue to work with them to bring the delivery date forward if possible. Alongside the redevelopment of Haymarket and Waverley Stations, the capital will soon have a modern transport system to be proud of."

Transport for Edinburgh brings Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams together into one single economic entity to allow bus services and tram operations to operate in an integrated way with common ticketing and customer services.

Services such as finance, human resources, marketing and facilities management that are currently within Lothian Buses will also service the tram to maximise value, minimise operating costs and deliver efficiencies across the group.

Transport for Edinburgh’s fifteen year financial model shows a positive outlook with a forecast profit of £3.7m over the period with an operating surplus in the fourth year of operations. The £3.7m relates to the Council’s position taking into account, tram, bus, lifecycle and infrastructure maintenance.

The operational position for Transport for Edinburgh is forecast to be £55.2m over 15 years which is paid to the Council by way of dividends. The organisation will initially oversee the bus and tram services but there is future potential to look wider and to consider other transport issues and opportunities.

The first meeting of the Transport for Edinburgh Board is set to meet on 18th December.

The tram project remains in line with the revised budget (£776m) approved by the Council in September 2011, with work either ahead of schedule or in line with the revised timescale reported in December 2011.

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