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Yesterday, I went to get the tram from Edinburgh airport into the city. I bought a £5 single ticket, boarded the tram that was about to depart, and sat down. Some time later, a member of tram staff came through saying there was a problem ahead and we might not leave for some time. Some time further, they returned saying that the tram was only going to go for a few stops, and to get into the city we'd need to try the bus instead.

I headed over to the airlink bus, where the driver reluctantly accepted my tram ticket. It wasn't clear from his response whether he was supposed to or not.

The bus took quite a bit longer than the tram, and the bus price would've only been £4, vs the £5 I paid for the tram ticket.

So, that leads me to two related questions:

  • Are tram tickets from the airport to the city officially accepted on other transport (eg the airlink bus) when the tram isn't working?
  • Can you get any refund (perhaps full? or perhaps just the £1 fare difference?) if the tram is broken and you have to get the bus instead?
  • 1
    The website is full with details on how to pay and the different methods on that, but not one single mention of the word refund or "out of service".. there is a contact us form in the site I would contact them if I were you. – Nean Der Thal Nov 29 '14 at 2:48
7

Get the bus.

Edinburgh's trams are a local disaster story. Given contracting disputes, failed planning and key individuals resigning (see this BBC article for more info), Edinburgh council has spent 7 years and £1 billion building a single tram line that is both slower and more expensive than the existing airport bus service.

If you get the express "airport bus" (#100) it costs £4 and takes about 30 minutes to the city centre (Princes Street).

If you get the tram, it costs £5 and takes about 40 minutes.

There are other buses (e.g. #35) from central locations to the airport - it would depend on exactly where you have to go. These cost £1.50 but are a lot slower. It's possible you accidentally took one of these, because I can't think of any other way the bus would have been slower than the tram.

As for refunds, I would recommend either asking the member of tram staff who told you to get the bus whether your ticket would be valid, or simply going back to the ticket office where you bought the ticket and demanding a refund there. The tram ticket you got is not normally valid on the bus, and I doubt the bus driver himself would be authorised to change that. I suspect you were probably just lucky that you got a kindly driver that waived your fare.

Incidentally, since the trams charge £1.50 for "city zone" travel and "city zone" is defined as all stops except the airport, you could get a normal (not express) bus to the next tram stop, which would only cost you £3 in total (£1.50 for the bus to the next tram stop and then £1.50 for the tram ride), rather than £5.

Sources:
* Edinburgh Airport transport links
* Google Maps
* Personal knowledge of the city

  • Are this kind of problems really that common? I tried to read the BBC article but it's a dead link. – user1073075 Nov 19 '15 at 14:23

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