Trams could connect Aberdeen’s two university campuses – if the Scottish Greens have any say in the running of the next council.
More than 60 years after the last of city’s fleet were burned in a roaring spectacle at Aberdeen beach, plans could soon be on track to bring them back.
The Scottish Greens are looking to win a first seat on Aberdeen City Council, and think “all options” need to be considered to get more people leaving their cars at home.
Unveiling a joint Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire manifesto, the party highlighted expanded bus, rail and the tramways as alternatives to the private vehicle “dominance” on north-east roads.
They also claim better public transport would help reduce the cost of living.
A tram at at Aberdeen’s Castlegate in 1936.They would also support work to establish a city-run bus firm – highlighting possible common ground with Aberdeen Labour – as well as “accessible and inclusive” pedestrianisation and better cycling infrastructure.
Talk of reintroducing trams quickly came off the rails last year
But talk of reintroducing trams in Aberdeen, after a fiasco in Edinburgh 10 years ago which cost £400 million more than planned, will likely be a talking point.
It comes only six months after the administration’s then city masterplanning spokeswoman Marie Boulton floated the light rail comeback.
It sparked weeks of debate about how people wanted to move around Aberdeen.
George Street and Harbour Greens candidate Guy Ingerson admitted it wasn’t something likely to happen in the next couple of years but was a “longer term ambition”.
He claimed trams could be looked at if the combination of buses, trains, walking routes and cycle lanes was not enough to entice people from their cars.
“There are options there, particularly around the number one and two bus routes that exist going between both university campuses,” he told The Press And Journal.
“It is going to take a while. But we would like to see it at least being investigated.
“For years these things have been discussed and then put on the backburner… well, let’s have a proper look at it.
“Let’s invest some time and see how viable it is, what the cost implications would be and see if it is one of the city’s major priorities, collectively.
“It’s a longer term ambition but we felt it was important to have it in our manifesto so people can see nothing is off the table when it comes to public and active transport.”
Support for Aberdeen tram revival not there six months ago
Aberdeen Labour first reignited discussion on trams in 2013, but they have since been assessed as being too expensive to introduce.
When the idea emerged again last year, outgoing Labour council leader Jenny Laing ruled out support for the idea from her party over the coming five years.
Nestrans, the north-east transport partnership, is working to bring ‘tram-like’ buses to Aberdeen, using similar vehicles to Belfast’s ‘glider’ service.
The Aberdeen rapid transit project could connect the airport with Portlethen, Bridge of Don and Westhill.
St Fittick’s Park and the cost of living
Other key pledges have already been unveiled in The Press And Journal.
The Greens want to create a nature reserve in St Fittick’s Park in Torry to stave off interest from industrial developers.
And six city high rises would be in line for energy efficiency retrofitting, if they have a stake in how the council is run.
There are also promises to support work to restore Bon Accord Baths, review council charges, and roll out further rail stops further up the north-east coast as far as Peterhead and Fraserburgh.