Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Buses, Trams and Gaels

A post by Tedious Tantrums.

We’re still in a fairly tricky financial position. The EU is teetering on the brink and it’s beginning to look like there is no way out. Not to worry though the last minute hard fought deal to save the Euro will be tomorrow night's news. Back slapping all around. 2 Trillion Euro fund to spend. Result! Oh goody!

In Edinburgh we have the trams. A billion pounds of light railway, falling well short of what it should have been whilst costing twice as much. The debt will have to be paid back by the council taxpayers. Oh goody!

Then we have the small question of the Edinburgh Gaelic School. Does this sound remotely familiar?

Exhibit 1.
The Scottish Government decision to provide capital funding of £1.4m to cover the cost of the project as identified by the City of Edinburgh Council.  Recently however new estimates of £3.6m have emerged, putting a question mark over the development of the school.

Result! ”That’s only just over 2.5 times the original estimate. Shortfall in funding? No problem. Borrow it. Use council money to pay for it. Of course there is no council money there is only taxpayers money. Oh goody!
Strolling swiftly along there’s the small issue of the statutory notices issued by the Council for repairs to Edinburgh buildings.

Exhibit 2.
The value of statutory notices issued by council surveyors has increased dramatically in recent years, from £9.2m in 2005 to more than £30m in 2010”.
Edinburgh Council surveyors arrange the work through approved (well approved may not be the correct word) contractors and recoup the cash from homeowners who are told what is to be done, who will do it and what it will cost. Oh goody!

Exhibit 3.
Edinburgh Council, the local authority, receives 15% of the final bill.”
So this system, designed to preserve Edinburgh buildings is a cash cow providing £4.5m to the council. Oh goody!

One final thought about Edinburgh. Let’s think transport. No not trams again. No. Buses. Lothian Buses. The only municipal owned Bus Company in Scotland. They provide a very good service. Well they would since they have an almost complete monopoly. Will they cut services, which may mean that people will have to use the trams? Of course not. Edinburgh Council wouldn’t do that. No way. Never.

Those brave souls staying out in tents (well maybe not staying out) without running water (well only until they nip home for a shower etc,) who are demonstrating about the unfairness of capitalism? You know the same ones as are outside St Pauls? Well maybe they should take a long hard look at Edinburgh Council. Maybe they would see some financial practices which make their present targets look like saints. Oh goody.


subrosa said...

This is a comment from Hamish. He's having trouble with placing comments.

Excellent post, TT.
Anent buses v. trams, the Council have already nobbled the bus network. The Western guided bus route, built a few years back at a cost of £10M, has been sacrificed to the tram route.
Without such sabotage, the buses will win hands down against the trams. The buses already offer a 10minute frequency taking 20 minutes from Airport to Haymarket. The trams aim for nothing more. Fair enough, the trams should be able to offer more consistent journey times during peak periods, but so would the buses if they had the dedicated tracks.
Here's a hoot. It is claimed the trams will be more cost-effective because each tram can carry 250 passengers. Well and good, if the numbers are there. But did you know that 170 of those will be standing?
Here's another hoot. The tram wheels will be lubricated on tight bends to reduce squealing. I have a faint memory from the old Edinburgh trams that the conductors would get out and spread sand on the line in icy conditions.

petem130 said...

I wondered if the guided bus route was a stepping stone towards the trams and was always intended to be used for them?

It would be just wonderful if a "clippie" had to jump out of a tram and throw sand on the rails because it was icy. Think of the You Tube potential for stuff like that.

I liked those seats the Blackpool trams had. they could face forward and then the back could be swung over and they would face backwards.

Just can't see the trams working out as they intended. It might be fun though. Very expensive fun indeed.

subrosa said...

Sorry TT but there seems to be a problem with some folks not being able to comment. I'm trying to fix it though.

pa_broon74 said...

I've been having a wee look at those tram tracks in passing on Princes Street and can't figure out quite how a tram wouldn't derail really easily?

I know they weigh tonnes but if someone was to fill the groove up, even if it filled with water then froze, surely the tram would just ride up and out and park it's nose in a department store?

Perhaps I'm being dull though.

petem130 said...

Hi Pa.
They do look feeble. Underneath is pretty serious but the tracks...well.

Looked a pretty shabby job first time round. Very un-German like really.

What if one is standing in Jenners Perfumery and a tram comes hurtling through the doors? I'd say that would be pretty inconvenient. It could spoil ones day out.

Dull? Never. If a jobs worth doing it's worth doing right. Not the motto of the tram saga.

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