Spend some time in Edinburgh, and people will soon be complaining about the delayed and over-budget tram system, which many of the mainly automobile-based Edimburgers regard as civic eogtism. This Christmas, the main shopping street is closed to all vehicles (or “open to pedestrians” as the tram people put it), as part of the tramsworks Christmas embargo. Princes Street will soon be full of Hogmanay revellers, but even in the post Christmas sales it seems underused, while George Street (where many of the up-market shops have migrated due to cheaper rents: Princes Street is I believe the only main street in Europe to have shops only on one side – with gardens on the other – making it incredibly expensive) is overloaded with buses, traffic and people.
Despite the terrible press, getting around this tiny city by bus I can’t help thinking the tram will be wonderful for Edinburgh – when it eventually comes. The reason most people go by car is despite constant moaning about traffic and tram-induced diversions, you really can get from one end of the city to the other very quickly – if you go by car. Going by bus is another story however – in my experience it’s mostly quicker to walk.