The tram network has Parliamentary approval and several contracts have been awarded.
The draft final Business Case was overwhelmingly agreed at a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday 21 December 2006. 56 Councillors (out of a total of 58) voted in favour of the recommendations laid out in a report by the City of Edinburgh Council.
The report outlines the viability of the project, how the network will be built, where it will run and how much it will cost. The tram is considered to be affordable, viable, necessary for the city and the benefits significantly outweigh the costs.
Following approval by Councillors, the draft final Business Case was presented to Scottish Ministers for approval in February 2007. Tavish Scott, the then Minister for Transport announced the release of £60 million to begin the first phase of construction which is diverting utility pipes and cables. A test site took place at Ocean Drive in April. The full programme of works is expected to commence later this summer.
It is anticipated that trams will be up and running by 2010/2011.
Draft Final Business Case
The City of Edinburgh Council generated a report on the draft final business case after the release of the draft final business case.
The draft final business case highlights just how necessary the tram is to link growing areas of the city.
The total project cost is £592m (inclusive of a risk contingency). For every pound spent on trams, £1.63 of benefits are expected. Currently, £545m of funding is available. Phase 1a – the central spine from Newhaven to the airport – costs £500m and is within the funding envelope.
Any additional funding for the spur from Haymarket to Granton Square would be assessed by the Council and Transport Scotland along with the tender prices and will be the subject of separate discussions.
Details of proposed tram network
1) The draft final Business Case report recommends that the tram network is phased in with the central spine, Airport to Newhaven, coming into operation in December 2010.
2) The Granton Square to Haymarket link would follow a year later if funding is secured.
3) It is proposed that an initial frequency of six trams per hour will run across the first phase. This will climb to 12 an hour from St Andrew Square to the foot of Leith Walk.
4) Fares will be the same on both buses and trams. Ridacards and Day Tickets will be valid on both trams and buses.
5) Forecasts show an operating profit for Transport Edinburgh Limited, the body that will run an integrated bus and tram network, from year 2.
The patronage is predicted to be:
• 11 million tram passengers in 2011 (13m for 1a and 1b)
• 16 million tram passengers in 2012
• 23 million tram passengers in 2016
• 26 million tram passengers in 2021
• 32 million tram passengers in 2031.
Future ambitions include:
• Phase 2 - closing the loop at the Waterfront
• Phase 3 - a link from the airport to Newbridge
• Lines to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Newcraighall, Livingston, Dalkeith, Musselburgh and Queensferry.