Six-week ‘red-eye’ trial follows healthy summer loadings
Edinburgh Trams is to trial an earlier start time for its services over a six-week period, beginning on 19 October.
The ‘red-eye’ trial will see the first tram run from the Airport to York Place at 04.46, compared to the current 06.15 start, while the first service from York Place will depart at 05.00 (currently 05.29). There will also be a tram leaving Gyle towards the city at 04.30 (currently 05.00).
Edinburgh Trams says the trial is being carried out ‘to test the impact on the maintenance regime for tram infrastructure and vehicles’, which it says ‘is an essential part of preparations for any potential timetable improvements’.
Lesley Hinds, Chair of Transport for Edinburgh said: ‘The Edinburgh Trams service is doing well and we know there is potential to continue to enhance what we offer. What we’re doing here is testing that potential out to see if extended hours will benefit customers whilst at the same time being commercially viable.’
Ian Craig, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh said: ‘It’s important to remember that this extension will only last six weeks initially and then go back to normal so we can assess the findings properly with our maintenance contractors. Once that work is complete then full consideration can be given to a permanent extension of service.’
The news comes as the network reported healthy summer loadings, with the number of journeys between 31 May and 4 September up by 50,000 on the previous year. Saturday 29 August was the network’s busiest day of operation, with 23,000 passengers being carried. In total, 1.55 million passengers have used the line since the end of May, when it celebrated its one-year anniversary, and patronage is currently ahead of predictions.
Ms Hinds added: ‘As we develop proposals for the possible extension it’s good to be in this position, knowing that we’re carrying a consistently high volume of satisfied passengers.’