BUS chiefs have warned drivers to ditch their social media campaign against the extension of Edinburgh’s tram system.
A new Facebook group, called Stop the Edinburgh Tram Extension, calls the trams a “train set” and counts current and former Lothian bus drivers and support staff among its members.
It has gained over 1000 members within a week. Drivers are angry that council-owned Lothian Buses face paying £20m towards the £162m cost of extending the tram line to Leith.
A spokesman for Lothian Buses, which also runs the trams under the umbrella of Transport for Edinburgh, said in a statement: “Employees can make use of Facebook and express views but we expect this to be in a personal capacity and not as an employee of the company.
“We will be reminding employees of guidance previously issued on this matter and of their responsibility to behave appropriately in line with the guidance.”
But the warning seems to have had little effect.
One driver, who did not wish to be named, said: “Management must know that any action they took would have to be done with care due to the support that is now flooding in.
“Many new members to our Facebook page are not employees, this is the community standing together to do what we think we must do.
“Many of Lothian’s managers are part of that community and are affected by what happens next.
“You can be assured that at least some, if not all, are proud of our actions, but they still have a job to do and have to be seen to do their job. “
Admin Gary Johnstone, whose profile picture shows him in uniform at the wheel of a Lothian bus, wrote yesterday (Friday): “Over 1400 added. Brilliant. Thank you so much. But we need more. Tell your friends to tell their friends.
“Let’s keep the wheels on the bus going round and round.”
Another admin, Mark Milne wrote: “Wow, membership has doubled in less than 12 hours.”
The group’s description reads: “Ok boys and girls, it is time we made a stand against this council.
“Please get as many people you can to join the fight and join this group, the more people we have the more the council will have to take notice of us.”
The £162.2 million plan to approve the tram extension from Leith to Newhaven was approved in principle by Edinburgh City Council’s ruling Labour and the SNP coalition last week. Only the Conservatives voted against it.
The line would be part-financed by £20m “extraordinary dividend” from Lothian Buses. A full decision will be made at the council’s meeting on December 10th.