Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Trams carry five million passengers in first year

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Media captionNew figures show that Edinburgh's trams have carried almost five million passengers in their first year of operation

Nearly five million passengers travelled on Edinburgh Trams during the first year of operations, new figures have revealed.

The 4.92m total is about 370,000 ahead of the target set before the project's controversial 31 May launch.

The company said it was also set to surpass revenue targets by 3%.

Edinburgh Trams has a fleet of 27 and employs 130 staff including drivers, ticketing assistants, control centre operators and maintenance engineers.

Its 8.7-mile (14km) route between Edinburgh's New Town and Edinburgh Airport was built at a final cost of £776m.

The service had been dogged by controversy over building delays, traffic disruption and spiralling costs.

An inquiry into the project was commissioned by Scottish ministers in June 2014 and will be headed by Lord Hardie.

Tom Norris, director and general manager of Edinburgh Trams, said the company had beaten targets and was "on the right path".

'Surge of interest'

He added: "We were absolutely delighted with the initial surge of interest when we launched, but even more grateful that the local and visiting public have continued to give us their support.

"We have developed the service over the first year and we'll continue to improve and adapt to keep our passengers happy, whilst being ready to take advantage of opportunities that come our way.

"The airport is growing, TFE [Transport for Edinburgh] is developing well, a new tram stop will link us to the Fife line and our city is going from strength to strength.

"We're ready to be at the centre of that development and part of the continued success of Edinburgh."

Edinburgh Trams said highlights of the first year included major spikes in passenger numbers heading to Murrayfield Stadium for the One Direction concert, Celtic FC's Champions League qualifying matches and Scotland Rugby's Six Nations games.

There were also "significantly increased passenger numbers" during Edinburgh's summer and winter festivals.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, chairwoman of Transport for Edinburgh, said: "To have had nearly five million passengers on board the trams since their launch is a massive achievement, and it's thanks to the support of the public that we've had such a successful first year.

"Credit must also go to the team, whose efforts and professionalism ensure Edinburgh Trams provides an excellent service to passengers every day.

"As it continues to develop as a key element of the city's transport offering we now look forward to its future as part of the city's modern, integrated transport system."

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