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nottinghamtrams.jpgAs Edinburgh's spectacularly inept Liberal/SNP Council does its simultaneous best to build and block the trams, the anti-tram hysteria is approaching the levels seen in Nimbyist campaigns against wind turbines.

The latest incident to get the tramophobes frothing is an accident in Dublin where a tram and a bus collided. Sixteen people were injured, three seriously. It's clearly bad news, although it's not yet clear whether the tram or the bus was at fault, or even a third party. 

My dear deluded friend Calum knows already. He simply checked his ideology-o-meter, which is stuck on "Blame the Trams for Everything". Let's assume he's right in this case, though, simply for comparison.

How do the risks from tram accidents of this sort compare to the risks associated with the SNP's overwhelmingly preferred form of transport, the car?

They're curiously reluctant to tell us. SNP Ministers are so quiet about it that their summer press release on road safety managed not even to include the headline figure, just a percentage change. I wonder if this reticence can survive today's debate in the Chamber on road safety. I got the numbers, though, by turning to the Record.

And they're pretty shocking. In an average week, Scotland's roads see five deaths and close to three hundred injuries. Every nine hours, year-round, more people are injured on Scotland's roads than were injured in this accident in Dublin.

But is this incident unusual for the Luas, the Dublin trams, or are they a regular deathtrap as Calum would have us believe? They've been running since 2004 and Wikipedia reports just one fatality over those five and a half years. If there had been any more I'm sure Calum would have edited the page accordingly.

Let's look at another cost the tram-haters seem oblivious too. Pollution from road traffic kills even more each year than the accidents. The UK figures from last year are roughly 2,600 from accidents and 4,000 from pollution. And don't even start me on the climate consequences of their love affair with the motorway.

Every time I see the shocking chaos the Liberal/SNP administration have visited on Edinburgh it makes me furious. The Nats are mismanaging this scheme, then campaigning against their own chaos, and all the while frantically denying any responsibility on the doorsteps.

Their incompetence is putting people off public transport, while their Ministers allocate billions of pounds of taxpayers' money to support various unsustainable roads schemes. I've always assumed all the other parties here were equally out of touch on transport, but I'm not sure that stands up any more.


Hysteric? Moi? Reckon you're onto the old Labour trick of confusing "hysteric" and "historic" Mister...

I'm simply laying the foundations for Calum to build on here (though, granted, he probably doesn't need the encouragement).

You've won plenty of Green arguments with me James, trams isn't one of them. I fail to be convinced that the current pain will be offset by the environmental advantages of trams. Convince me.

Hi Malc,
I'm happy for you to be historic too.

When I wrote about trams before I set out many of the arguments for, including Kenny Macaskill's! If you think I've got anything wrong there, do let me know. A little debate on this would be great.

Ignoring the sustainable transport/environment element and going on a selfish rant...

I can only really speak from a Glasgow perspective (actually, thats not true I used to live in Edinburgh, got the bus occassionally, but would happily walk for an hour to places), but I know exactly why I'd rather get on a tram than a bus, and its about convenience, comfort and speed.

Buses get stuck in traffic, (many a time i've got off a bus and walked- and yes that was before these darned tram works!), buses rattle around and make me feel sick. A smooth running, timely tram would be just what the doctor ordered...

But you're right James, what really annoys me is that the SNP are happy to moan about the Trams and turn a blind eye to the £750m they've spent on 5 miles of motorway, just so the minority of people in Glasgow (car ownership is under 50% over here) can get through the city just slightly quicker than they used to- NOW THAT IS A WASTE OF MONEY...Grrrrrrr

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This page was published on September 17, 2009 8:35 AM.

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