City of Edinburgh Council has revealed plans to create Transport for Edinburgh, which will bring together bus and tram operations in the city

The City of Edinburgh Council has confirmed that it is to create Transport for Edinburgh, a new organisation that will integrate the forthcoming Edinburgh Tram operation with the council’s Lothian Buses business.

The move could spell the end for the Lothian brand name on the city’s bus fleet in favour of a wider TfE brand. In the longer term, the council says that TfE could become responsible for implementing wider transport policy and vision.

Details of company structure and the tram operating agreement were presented to the full council last week. Transport for Edinburgh will initially oversee both tram and bus services but, with an integrated transport strategy, there is potential to look wider and bring pedestrian and cycle routes into the approach and consider other transport issues.

The council’s report sets out TfE’s governance structure and financial model which incorporates Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams in an arrangement where both companies report into TfE. The 15-year financial model shows a positive outlook with a forecast profit of £3.7m over the period with an operating surplus in the fourth year of operations.

The council says that the tram on its own is forecast to run with a £42m operating surplus and Edinburgh Trams will pay an infrastructure access fee to the council for access. This, plus dividends from profits made by the bus and tram operations, will pay for maintenance costs.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds says the new council-owned and run organisation has the potential to make a big impact on transport in the city.

“What I’d like to see in the longer term is a publicly run transport organisation that can implement transport strategy in a fully integrated way to the benefit of everyone who wants to get around the city,” she added.

“This is the perfect time to start to look beyond the tram launch and to develop a new approach to transport in Edinburgh. With their existing knowledge and expertise Lothian Buses is very well placed to thrive with the tram and I’m very pleased that we’re working in partnership with them.”

Hinds added that tram and bus services will be fully integrated with tickets and timetabling delivered through one system to simplify journeys. Any profit made by TfE will be ploughed back into public transport.

“Our first priority is to get trams up and running,” she said. “There is much work to be done on the development of Transport for Edinburgh and, at an appropriate time, we’ll launch the new brand and develop in a way that places a focus on integrating and improving all modes of transport available in Edinburgh.”

The move has been welcomed by Ian Craig, the chief executive of Lothian who said that the council’s vision for an integrated high quality public transport network should be embraced.

 

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