Sunday, 15 July 2012
How to make a CONVINCING state of the art, world class, twenty-first century tram system?
I hope this email finds you well. As you can imagine, over the past week, like many Edinburgh residents I have been doing a lot of thinking about the trams.
Although some harsh words have been uttered, rest assured I am still fully 110% behind the project!
I was doing some more 'numerical reasoning and hard maths' in my head this week and I discovered the the figures I gave in my last email were incorrect. My mistake was that I referred to the "Edinburgh Trams Final Business Case' document on your website, when of course I should have referred to the Business Case published AFTER the final business case, where passenger predictions were cut from 9.8M to only 5.4M passengers per year. My sincere apologies for any confusion caused.
My new calculations show that with the new predicted passenger numbers, we will be running at a minimum loss of £6.6M per year. Marie, we need to increase the fares, there is nothing else for it. This would be my first action if I were to be successful in my application for the role of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER.
I think we can probably get away with the same trick LRT pulled a few years ago on the buses and say that passengers don't like having to carry loose change and bung it up to £2 'by popular demand', but by my calculations we need to get a single fare up to at least £2.60 a trip before the trams start running. That would give us enough operating profit (subject to any more unforeseen circumstances) that the tram will recoup its construction cost in just under 1 millennium.
My other idea is that maybe we could do away with 'per trip' tickets altogether on buses and trams, and introduce an 'all-day' ticket for £10. Used in conjunction with yet more extensions of the controlled parking zones, and another hike in metered parking rates and we can force people onto the trams whether they like it or not!
Obviously £10 a day sounds quite a high price, but we will be able to justify it by having a STATE OF THE ART, WORLD CLASS, TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY TRAM SYSTEM!
So how do we convince people that that's what we've got, and not a creaky old single tram line that nobody wants? I've thought about that Marie, I've thought about it long and hard.
Those electronic bus times signs we currently have are quite modern looking, but we need something more FUTURISTIC for the trams. Something which crosses the language barrier to ensure that even non-English speaking tourists will be able to understand it. Also, with all the negative publicity we have been having, something that shows the human face of Edinburgh Trams.
I have come up with an AWESOME SOLUTION which addresses BOTH these requirements!
THE FUTURISTIC LIGHT EMITTING DIODE ELECTRONICAL TRAM SIGNAGE DISPLAY FEATURING ANIMATED CHARACTERS AND TRAM TIMES (TM)
I have drawn up some rough 'artists impressions' of the sort of thing I mean. You will notice I have chosen Councillor Cardownie as one of the friendly characters to be used, as he is well known for his conflicting views on the trams which seem to change like the wind. When the trams are running on time, we can display a jovial digital picture of him looking happy, proclaiming his life-long support for the trams. When the tram is late, we can display a different image where he looks angry, and perhaps some sort of comment that he never wanted them in the first place.
That way, even tourists and the illiterate will be able to see at a glance whether they should be happy or sad about the tram they're waiting for.
We could of course expand the system to display other well-known comedy characters associated with Edinburgh's Trams, such as Councillor Lesley Hinds Transport Convener, ex-Council Leader Jenny Dawe, ex-council Transport Convener Gordon Mackenzie, and current Council Leader Andrew Burns.
IMPORTANT: On NO ACCOUNT should we use images of any ex-TIE executives who received those £100,000 severance packages, for fear of inciting riots on the streets. As Councillor Hinds implored recently, we need to drawn a line under that obscene waste of public funds, forget about it, and move on.
I've got a lot more ideas where these came from, and I look forward to having the chance to tell you about them at interview.
TRAM VISIONARY of the FUTURE