Sunday, 15 July 2012

How to make a CONVINCING state of the art, world class, twenty-first century tram system?


Dear Marie,

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!


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.

Best Wishes,

Aldo Broon


  1. Dear Aldo

    I refer to your correspondence, addressed to Marie, in relation to your application to become a tram driver/general manager.

    I believe you have exactly the kind of forward-thinking, thrusting and visionary ideas common to members of the Edinburgh Tram Team past and present which would make you an ideal candidate for the post.

    Your CV is an inspiration and should guarantee you an interview, if not a position in the Tram Team's PR department.

    May I wish you every success in your application and please keep us informed of your progress.

    Kind regards.

    Yours sincerely

    Sarah B

    1. Thank you for your message of support Sarah, I can only hope that those on the interview committee have the same clear understanding of the ideal candidate for this position as you.

      Rest assured I have a lot more totally awesome ideas for our WORLD CLASS tram system. Some have suggested that after all this time the project is starting to stagnate slightly, and suffer from a lack of vision. This is what I hope to address, with my new radical approach.

      I will keep the blog updated as I progress through the recruitment process!

  2. Dear Aldo

    I think you are selling yourself short!

    With your skills I would bide my time and wait for Ms Bruce's job, I believe it will be advertised soon. It will of course be heavily redacted with no names, it might not even say Chief Executive or describe the duties but it is coming soon!

    As Chief Executive you would instantly achieve you primary aim of getting a huge stash of cash when you eventually get fired.

    You could expand your current ideas into all aspects of the management of the City of Edinburgh, I particularly like the idea of numeracy and spreading it widely throughout the senior staff, it may be radical but I think the people of Edinburgh would warm to figures that have actually been worked out rather than made up.

    Could I suggest that you amend your CV sightly to take in your undoubted honesty, I am sure unlike past TIE employees you can demonstrate somewhere you have told the truth. This too could be spread throughout the senior staff and would undoubtedly catch on with the Edinburgers, it will come as shock and will take a lot of time but they will warm to it. Sceptics who claim they will not know the difference will be won over by the huge differences in cost.

    I wish you every success, people like you are difficult to get a hold of!(think about it)

    Best regards


    1. Thank you Nemisis for those encouraging words. I must admit, I also think that I am slightly overqualified for the role of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER. I believe my radical vision is more suited to the Chief Executive role, however on the other hand, I find the concept of a job where there is nothing to do for at least the first two years (except draw an £80,000 salary) to be an attractive one.

      I think I will probably do a couple of years as TRAM GENERAL MANAGER before seeking promotion before anything is actually delivered. I believe I will also be entitled to a hefty bonus at that point.

      A few more years as Chief Executive and I'll head off somewhere else, before the *** hits the, erm, tram.

      All the Best

      Aldo Broon


Thanks for your comment! I hope you continue to enjoy following Aldo's Quest to get himself on the Edinburgh Gravy-Tram!