Edinburgh – to tram, or not to tram, that is the question

Correspondent Garrett Palm delivers first impressions on his way to the Festival Fringe; locals debate new tram system
By Garrett Palm
I caught a taxi into Edinburgh yesterday evening 24 hours after leaving my apartment in Brooklyn. It started off chilly and only slightly overcast and worked its way to misty by the evening. Edinburgh is far enough North that the afternoon and evening feel like the same thing. The sun does not set until around ten.

Driving in, my cabbie, Alistair, told me he loved New York City. Everyone says that when they hear where I’m from. Some say they would love to live there, some say they could only visit. He told me New York looks like how a city should look. I told him I felt Edinburgh is how I think all cities should try to look.

Alistair told me he could tell the Fringe was ramping up because all the show posters are appearing all over the city. He said the city was about to get “real liberal and open, you’ll love it.” So far it’s quiet, cold, and rainy, just how I remember it to be.

Another poster I noticed on a storefront protested the ongoing Edinburgh tram project. The sign read “Stop the tram line before it looks like this:” above maps of various tram services around the world that covered their whole cities. Right now the tram crosses the city from the airport to the waterfront in Newhaven. It is around 30 percent done; meanwhile 80 percent of the budget has been spent.

The project does not seem to have many supporters, according to Alistair. People don’t like the constant construction – the digging up of Princes Street and rerouting of traffic. Oddly enough for a cab driver, Alistair claimed to be one of the few supporters of the trams. He understands the mess the construction is causing and the budget concerns, but in the end trams are a good thing to have. Just don’t let the other cab drivers know he supports trams.

One thought on “Edinburgh – to tram, or not to tram, that is the question

  1. one problem is the constant problem we Scots have with politicians,who once in power have knowledge from a higher power that tells them they know what we want no matter how hard we try to say no.It always ends up in unbelievable overspend and never as described.They dont appear to have any qualifications to back up any theory they generate.It all goes tits up leaving us with huge loans to pay back.Now the trams,we dont need trams.and other projects already overbudget and not even started include a railway from Edinburgh to Galashiels.Will they listen ,NO
    regards TOM O

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