The first fare paying service for the Edinburgh Trams took place on 31st May 2014. The Council had decided on a low key launch with the first tram in public service leaving Gyle Centre stop at 5.00 am on a Saturday. A media event took place on Friday with a run from St Andrew Square to Gyle Centre.
Officials had expected only a handful of Tram enthusiasts. To be on the safe side Edinburgh Trams had called in some extra volunteers to assist the customer assistants. Some of the Ticketing Service Assistants (TSA) had passed by Gyle Centre at about 04.30 am and with only a few gathering they wondered what all the fuss had been about.
A spare tram, No 255, left the Gogar Depot at 04.45 to be parked at Haymarket Yards extra track loop in case of possible break down in any service trams during the launch day. This stopped briefly at Gyle Centre to allow the TSA’s to disembark. They could not believe the sight that greeted them. People had come from across Europe and beyond to be part of this historic moment. The platforms were full with long queues at both ticket machines. 100’s had gathered to take part in the first run.
Platinum colour tickets were promised to the first 1000 people to purchase tickets. These had been distributed across the ticket machines on all platforms. The ticket was a special souvenir and examples are shown.
Only one standard fare ticket of £10.00 was issued on the first day and this is shown.
With 05.00 am passing the first tram, Number 275, left Gyle Centre in what could only be described as a party atmosphere. Cheering and waving those lucky enough to squeeze on departed. No room was available for late arrivals or those at many of the stops. The tram quickly picked up pace with the chosen driver Craig Scotland, aged 19, at the controls.
When the tram arrived at Haymarket, a bus with tourists was heading out to the Airport. The look of astonishment will never be forgotten. What they must have made of a full tram with waving passengers of all ages and descriptions heading into town at 05.15 am on a Saturday morning?
The tram soon arrived at York Place at 05.30 am where many of the passengers alighted. Those with National Entitlement Cards issued in Edinburgh had to validate their passes for the return journey to the Airport. The enthusiast who fell off the platform seemed more concerned about his camera and his embarrassment was clear to see. He quickly disappeared back on the tram.
The run from York Place to the Airport was quieter. Most passengers had vacated the tram by the time it left Gyle Centre with only a handful going all the way out to the Airport terminus.
The first day of service was without doubt a success. Three additional trams were called into service to accommodate all the passengers wishing to travel. The first day saw 24,176 passengers carried, with the following day another 15,460.
At any one time it is thought that only 12 of the 27 trams will be required to maintain service.
Edinburgh Trams have confirmed that staffing levels are 120. This is made up with 52 Ticketing Service Assistants, 40 Drivers, 9 depot only drivers, and administration and management posts.
1st June 2014
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES ?
31st May 2015
Ticket 04.45 31st May 2015 from Gyle Centre.
31st May 2015
Platform heading for town. Only one passenger present - the photographer. The same tram driver Craig Scotland at the controls.Tram 277.
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