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Edinburgh tram passenger forecast cut in half

image captionThe first tram arrived at Gogar depot from Spain last October

Edinburgh's tram system is expected to be used by about half the passengers originally forecast after its route was cut to save money, new figures suggest.

Edinburgh City Council predicted in 2010 that 10 million people would use the trams each year.

However, a new forecast, disclosed under a Freedom of Information request, has an updated figure of 5.4 million.

A £776m tram line between Edinburgh Airport and St Andrew Square is due to be completed by summer 2014.

The Edinburgh tram project is years behind schedule and massively over budget.

The original plan had been for the tram line to run from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven.

Bus and tram

Gordon Mackenzie, Edinburgh City Council's transport convener, said: "Given that the first phase of the line has been reduced it will surely come as no surprise that projected passenger numbers are reduced as well.

"Self-evidently, the further the line goes the more passengers you're going to be able to pick up.

"What the report told us was that day-to-day operations of the tram become more profitable if you extend the line down Leith Walk.

"Even so, the combined bus and tram operation of Lothian Buses will be in profit from year one.

"However we felt that the additional costs involved in extending down Leith Walk at this time were too great and it would also have increased uncertainty over the delivery timescale."

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