Tram bosses to get conductors on board


The Edinburgh trams

By Cara Sulieman

TRAM bosses have drawn up secret plans to introduce an army of ‘clippies’ to crack down on fare dodgers as they look to recoup the cost of introducing the controversial fleet to the streets of Edinburgh.

Documents being circulated to potential partners reveal that they hope to have around 40 ‘hand-held’ devices made available for ticket police which suggests a ‘blue meanie’ style force to target city commuters already being plagued by over-zealous parking attendants.

That’s despite plans to lavish cash on installing at least 100 ticket ‘validation’ machines on tram platforms and around 60 self serve ticket vending machines across the routes.

The crackdown – which will be subject to an initial 18-month phasing in – also hopes to encourage travellers to spend money on ‘smart cards’ to speed up the process.

Probing questions

Several firms are being invited to tender for the lucrative contract to supply the equipment and bid for money-spinning back up services and maintenance work.

But having faced a swathe of embarrassing legal wrangles over the tram works themselves, tram bosses are demanding the successful provider lodge a £100,000 performance bond to ensure quality of service.

And contractors will be paid as they go along rather than upfront – following contractual problems with Bilfinger Berger, the German company carrying out the tram works.

They have also warned any potential bidder that all submissions for the contract will be subject to Freedom of Information legislation from anyone of a mind to ask probing questions.

But they have pointed out that it won’t be the cheapest tender that wins the contract – tie have stated that they want the best value for money but also want to make sure all the criteria is met.

“Competative dialogue”

As well as providing the machines, the contractors will be expected to provide maintenance and repair service for seven years after they’re installed.

The smart cards appear to be an important part of the contract – with almost twice as many validation machines than ticket machines.

tie also stipulate that the system that will be used on the trams will have to be compatible with the current Lothian Buses card system.

The contract is broken into three lots, with companies able to bid for one or more of them.

The first is for 60 platform vending machines, the second for 100 platform validation machines and the third for 40 of the handheld machines.

Companies have until the end of January to register their bids after which they will enter “competitive dialogue” to choose the winning tender.

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