Friday, 24 August 2012

Coming to terms with Rejection, and Idea Piracy

24th August 2012

Dear Marie,

Firstly I must offer my apologies for not being in touch for the last week or so. I have been waiting on tenterhooks for my invitation to interview at Edinburgh Trams to drop through the letterbox. As you apparently were aware all along, this invitation would NOT BE FORTHCOMING.

As stated in the application form, final interviews for the position of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER were to be held this week, with a decision being made shortly afterwards. It is with great sorrow therefore that I have now concluded that my application must have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

I console myself with the thought that you must have identified an individual with even more AWESOME IDEAS than myself, perhaps someone even more dedicated to Edinburgh Trams than I?

So you can imagine my ASTONISHMENT today Marie, when I read in THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS that Edinburgh Trams is to offer tram trips round the tram depot to members of the public! You will undoubtedly recall, that this was MY IDEA, communicated to you in my email of 24th July 2012 – ‘The Edinburgh Festival Tram Experience Mindmap’.  I was under the impression that these ideas would be held IN CONFIDENCE Marie, and today I see Transport Convener Lesley Hinds beaming from the centre pages of the Evening News, passing MY AWESOME IDEA off as one of her own! I would not be surprised if she is taking the cushy £80K EDINBURGH TRAM GENERAL MANAGER job for herself too!

As a long-term supporter of Edinburgh Trams, I am of course happy for my suggestions to be taken ON BOARD, but I do expect some sort of recognition for my contribution, Marie.

While it appears that I have been unsuccessful  in my application for the TRAM GENERAL MANAGER role, for whatever reason, I would like to reassure you that I wish to continue my quest to get ON BOARD the Edinburgh gravy-tram, and secure some sort of employment with EDINBURGH TRAMS in the future.  Perhaps as a consultant or some type of visionary?

In order to reassure you that I bear no ill feelings, I have come up with another GREAT IDEA which Ms Hinds will no doubt pilfer in due course. The aforementioned EVENING NEWS had an article the other day about some guy who had discovered an old horse-drawn Edinburgh tram being used as a garden shed in an allotment, and had restored it to its original condition. By incredible serendipity, the gauge of this old 1885 tram is apparently identical to our new TRAMS OF THE FUTURE! The gentleman in question has expressed the wish that his horse-drawn tram could be operated on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

I think we should seriously consider this proposal, Marie. I personally would be willing to drive this horse-drawn tram up and down Princes Street (I already have the hat), and I believe it would be a massive attraction for tourists - even better than Edinburgh Council's abandoned ‘Giant Ferris Wheel Down a Hole’ idea.

We could charge at least £10 a trip, and run the tram back and forward along the tracks already laid on Princes Street. This would both generate revenue, and get the general public used to trams running in our city. As the lines are expected to lie unused for at least the next couple of years, we could run this revenue-generating horse-drawn tram service back and forward along Princes Street until such time that the new trams are ready to run!

How long do horses live, do you know?

In case you are having difficulty visualising this idea, I have prepared an artist’s impression of how I think it might look.

I look forward to seeing Lesley Hinds in next week’s Evening News passing this idea off as her own.

Keep in Touch,

Aldo Broon
Advisor, Visionary and supplier of AWESOME IDEAS for Edinburgh Trams RIGHT NOW

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


8th August 2012

Dear Marie,

I must admit I am quite surprised not to have heard from you over the past few days. You may recall that you promised that Edinburgh Trams would be in touch with candidates for the TRAM GENERAL MANAGER position, to advise them whether they have been selected for the next stage in the process (online ability and psychometric tests), by last Friday (3rd August).

To date I have still heard ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from you regarding where I can access these tests. At first I was somewhat concerned that you might have slipped behind your published recruitment schedule, let's face it, that wouldn't exactly be unknown for Edinburgh Trams. I must admit I had a bit of a panic attack when I thought that maybe the entire recruitment process had been halted due to the recent public outcry regarding the appointment of several more people to the Edinburgh GRAVY-TRAM with nothing for them to do for at least two years. I could almost see that £80K SALARY slipping through my fingers, Marie!

Luckily I soon came to my senses, and realised the obvious reason - the other candidates have probably not been quite so efficient in demonstrating their skills and abilities via email as myself, and you have obviously decided to FAST-TRACK my application straight to the next stage (interview).

Of course this is quite acceptable, but I suggest you probably should tell candidates when they have been selected for a fast-track recruitment process like this, to put their minds at rest. Transport Convener Lesley Hinds was telling me just yesterday that one of her main aims is to improve communication regarding Edinburgh Trams, and I think it's time for you to embrace that sentiment too, Marie.

However, I am happy to confirm that I will be available for the face-to-face panel interview commencing 13th August. Would you like me to prepare a presentation?

Actually, I have started my presentation already, Marie. It is entitled "SELLING EDINBURGH TRAMS". Don't worry, I'm not referring to the inevitable selling of the entire tram line to someone like FirstGroup for a nominal £1 in about 2020! No, my presentation is about SELLING the IDEA of EDINBURGH TRAMS to a cynical public, after many years of pointless disruption to their lives and businesses.

To SELL the IDEA of EDINBURGH TRAMS making a WORTHY CONTRIBUTION to the city, we need to make full use of the popular public profiles of some of the key players in the development of our Tram line. Seeing these popular characters endorsing the line is sure to bring the public back ONBOARD. I suggest we select some UPBEAT phrases praising the trams, and feature these as part of the tram livery. We could associate these POSITIVE phrases with respected well-known local characters.

As you have probably guessed by now, I have put together some artists impressions to give you an idea of the sort of thing I mean. I'll bring a camera along to the interview and hopefully take some better photos we can use. With 27 trams, we can probably feature most of the Edinburgh Trams employees or tram advocates somewhere on a tram.

As an extension of this idea, I was also thinking we could perhaps offer members of the public the chance to have their (or their loved ones) faces featured on an Edinburgh Tram? What significant-other could fail to be impressed by the unique Anniversary gift that says it all - their face on the back end of a tram?

As well as being a sure-fire revenue earner, this would help reinforce the idea that we are IN TOUCH with the man on the street. We are LISTENING, and LESSONS have surely been LEARNT.

I've got some more exciting ideas for my presentation too, but I'm not sure if we will have time to include them. If you could let me know where the interviews are going to be held, and whether there is equestrian access, that would be of great use and would be much appreciated.


Aldo Broon

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Slogans, that's what we need.


Dear Marie,

It has come to my attention that I may have inadvertently sent you an email while I was visiting Amsterdam last week. Unfortunately I sent this from an internet cafe, and have little recollection of the contents. I vaguely remember something about deserting a sinking ship, but apart from that, my memory is somewhat hazy. I think if I sent you any new ideas while away, it might be best if we just forgot about those, and disregard that email. I hope this will not jeopardise my chances for the TRAM GENERAL MANAGER job?

On my return from Amsterdam I passed through Edinburgh Airport. I noticed the excellent new 'WORTH WAITING FOR - Edinburgh Trams' sign we have erected there. This was a fantastic idea, sure to bring both visitors and residents of Edinburgh 'on-side' with the project, despite the eternal disruption and impact on their holidays/livelihoods for the past half decade. There is NO WAY that this sign was a bad idea, and the person responsible should DEFINITELY be commended for being so in-tune with public opinion.

However, something was niggling at the back of my mind as I made my way home on the bus, Marie. I was sure I'd heard the 'Worth Waiting For' slogan before. Was it Heinz Tomato Ketchup? (No, that one was 'Good things come to those who wait', which might be pushing credibility a bit too far for Edinburgh Trams).

I racked my brains for 2 hours as my bus crawled its way along York Place Marie, but eventually I had it! It was Carlsberg's late-1980s advert "Ice Cold in Alex - Worth waiting for!" It did occur to me that this product association is perhaps a dangerous one for us to make, as there is always the danger some wag might suggest a better link could have been 'Edinburgh Trams - They'll drive us all to drink'.

Nevertheless, the whole idea of using successful advertising slogans to popularise the Edinburgh Trams got me thinking. What other successful advertising campaigns could we perhaps 'pay homage to' in our publicity?

I've put together an illustration of some of the slogans I think might be suitable for Edinburgh Trams, obviously I've had to change some of them to fit, but you will get the idea. Hopefully we can piggy-back on some of these slogans and some of their popularity might rub off on Edinburgh Trams?

Of course we shouldn't limit ourselves to billboards and posters, as we approach the launch date, I envisage a barrage of television advertising as well. I'm thinking for that perhaps we could have a short advertisement showing the planning, build and implementation of the Edinburgh Trams project over the years.

I suggest we get the PG Tips monkeys to play the parts of Edinburgh Councillors and members of the TIE board, and then jump to the modern day with the Cadbury Gorilla driving a tram down Princes Street playing the drums.

I am fully prepared to dress up in the Gorilla suit, Marie. How many of the other candidates for the TRAM GENERAL MANAGER job would be willing to do that? I think this is one of the questions you should pose to the other candidates at interview.

Something like that is going to have the sort of VISUAL IMPACT we need, Marie. And EVERYONE loves monkeys - it will distract our critics - "Hey! Look at the funny monkeys! Look at the funny monkeys!".

Trust me, works every time.

I look forward to discussing these ideas further at interview.

Aldo Broon
Tram General Manager, and willing Gorilla Impersonator of the FUTURE

Friday, 27 July 2012



Hallo Marie, mijn goh dit openbaar vervoer systeem is inderdaad wereldklasse!

Don't worry Marie, my teeth haven't fallen out, I am in fact writing to you in the foreign language of, erm, HOLLANDaise from an internet cafe in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, or TRAMsterdam, as it perhaps should be called, as in my opinion it has one of the best and truly WORLD CLASS TRAM systems I have ever seen!

I have popped over for a few days on a FACT FINDING MISSION, in preparation for my forthcoming interview for the position of TRAMS GENERAL MANAGER. (Don't worry, I've kept  all my receipts and will submit a full expenses claim once I'm back!)

I must say Marie, I am very impressed with the set up here. Although they don't have trams at the airport, they have a train system which goes from RIGHT INSIDE THE AIRPORT to the central train station, then, right outside the station are a whole selection of tram stops! You won't find our European cousins dragging their suitcases along half a mile of 'covered walkways' in a force 10 gale to reach their public transport!

Then, what they've done Marie, is they've got DIFFERENT trams going on DIFFERENT lines in DIFFERENT directions! It's crazy but makes some sort of weird sense! You get on the tram that goes in the direction you want to go - thus they seem to have avoided the thorny issue of having 26 identical trams all stuck one behind the other on the same single route. See, it's the twist that makes it clever.

There's a lot we could learn from these guys Marie, there's a whole lot more FACT FINDING I could do here, and I will probably make it a regular destination once I get the job.

Yesterday I visited Amsterdam Museum. I went there on a tram. In the museum I learnt that Amsterdam has long suffered from a chronic affordable accommodation shortage, I was very interested to hear about this, as I know the problems we have in Edinburgh during the festival months.

One of the ways they have solved this problem is to create ‘House Boats’, these are boats which have been permanently moored at the sides of the canals, providing an attractive and affordable  accommodation opportunities, right in the very centre of this beautiful city.

That got me thinking, Edinburgh is a similar sized city, with similar accommodation problems, and it occurred to me that with 26 trams, we are likely to have a large number of vehicles surplus to requirements, considering the repeated reductions in the length of the final line.

I know Edinburgh Trams have already investigated the possibility of ‘leasing’ these spare trams to other cities, unfortunately without any success. Once again however, I am able to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the problem, and ‘THINK OUTSIDE THE TRAM DEPOT’ as it were.

I had a good think about this over a coffee, and the longer I sat there in that coffee shop, the clearer my mind became, eventually I had what I can only describe as some sort of epiphany Marie, a EUROPEAN STYLE TRAM VISION if you like – where Amsterdam have the HOUSE BOAT, Edinburgh can go one better! I would like to propose...


Think about it Marie, each tram is allegedly capable of accommodating 332 people. With at least 20 surplus trams,  and the addition of a few hammock beds slung between the handrails, we could float these trams in the Union canal and thus accommodate 6640 additional visitors, right in the very centre of the city!

WORLD CLASS ACCOMMODATION, at extremely competitive prices, while guaranteeing us a rapid RETURN ON INVESTMENT for all these redundant vehicles!

I have produced an artists impression to explain what I think ‘The Edinburgh Tram Accommodation Service’ might look like, please excuse the fact this is not up to my usual high standard, but they only have rubbish Microsoft Paint on these computers.

I'd better sign off now Marie, I've suddenly noticed I'm incredibly hungry for an iced doughnut.

I'll be back in touch on my return.

Goede zegeningen!

Aldo Broon
Tramweg groot baas van de TOEKOMST!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Edinburgh Festival Tram Experience Mindmap


Dear Marie,  I trust this email finds you in your usual good spirits?

Unfortunately Marie, I am currently in the most foul of spirits,  it being the case that I caught sight of the front page of that poor excuse for a chip wrapper, the Edinburgh Evening News, last Friday.

I have been fuming about it all weekend - they are purposely ridiculing our Edinburgh Trams.

In case you didn't see it, they printed an image of an Edinburgh tram travelling along Princes Street filled with fictional characters from the children's TV programme 'The Magic Roundabout'.  I knew immediately that there was some sort of photo manipulation trickery involved,  as even the most powerful magic won't get a tram running through the streets of Edinburgh anytime soon.

If that wasn't insult enough,  inside they mentioned that we are recruiting 11 tram drivers "FOUR OF WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN RECRUITED". 

What's going on Marie? As the Tram General Manager OF THE FUTURE,  surely I should have been made aware of these appointments? I am not prepared to be the sort of General Manager who, in the manner of Councillor Steve Cardownie, is constantly caught on the back foot and having to give hollow responses about being 'totally shocked and stunned' all the time. This project needs someone who is hands-on.

What's more,  I have already made a lot of promises to friends and family about the possibility of jobs on the trams once I have been appointed,  and I am somewhat concerned that someone else may be trying to grab all the peachy jobs for their mates before I have even started.

Please do not recruit any more people onto the project until I get there and have time to sort everything out,  thank you.

On similar subject, I am quite concerned about all the negative publicity we have been receiving lately. If it is indeed the case that we need to constantly run our 26 trams in circles round the depot to stop them from seizing up, then we should be engaging the public with some POSITIVE SPIN on these press releases.

Doesn't Edinburgh Trams employ a public relations company Marie? If we do, then it seems to me they are not doing a very good job, and one of my first actions as TRAM GENERAL MANAGER will be to replace them with someone more competent.

There's a well-known PR phrase 'you can't polish a turd', but that doesn't mean we should give up on our public image entirely.

For example, as TRAM GENERAL MANAGER I would invite the paying public to come and watch the spectacle of the trams going round in circles. During the festival especially, we could charge tourists £5 admission just to watch that. Last year I went to see Paul Daniels during the festival. He's not been on the telly since 1986, and his show was still SOLD OUT, Marie! If people will pay good money to see Paul Daniels in a theatre, just think how much they would pay to see his show ONBOARD A TRAM? I'm pretty sure he would be up for this, if you want me to ask him, just let me know.

Some might consider watching trams going round in circles, and on board celebrity Magic shows a bit tame, but we can also entertain the more adventurous with my awesome idea for TRAM JOUSTING. A couple of people could sit on top of trams (which would go in opposite directions round the test tracks), each contestant would wear an inflatable Sumo Wrestler outfit for health and safety reasons (I know a guy that rents these out by the day), and would wield a 'jousting pole' which could be fashioned from one of the unused tram poles we were going to put down Leith Walk before that all got abandoned. As the trams pass each other at speed, the contestants could attempt to 'joust' each other off the tram. I reckon a lot of people would be up for this, particularly if we offered a small prize, and a competitor charge of £20 a head would not be unreasonable. We'd also get lots of spectators for a exciting spectacle like that.

I know these are a lot of ideas to take in Marie, and to be honest, I've not thought them all through properly yet, but I've produced a MIND MAP diagram to help you visualise the sort of things I am thinking of for my EDINBURGH FESTIVAL TRAMS EXPERIENCE. I think something like this would help repair some of the public relations damage caused by the disruption this project has inflicted on the people of Edinburgh to date, and would help bring both tourists and Edinburgh Council Tax payers back ON BOARD the Tram Project.

Edinburgh Needs Trams.


THE EDINBURGH TRAMS EXPERIENCE needs a visionary like me.

I look forward to discussing these ideas further at interview.

Aldo Broon
Tram Visionary, Public Relations Consultant and General Manager OF THE FUTURE

Wednesday, 18 July 2012




Hi Marie,

As you can probably tell I am extremely excited today, hence my use of a disproportionate number of exclamation marks!!!

After an interminable wait, it has finally arrived!

I had originally planned for this to be a surprise when I wore it to interview - it was to be my 'secret weapon' to show that unlike other candidates, I am always thinking A HEAD, and thus the job would be in the bag, but now it's arrived, I am just too excited not to show you my new EDINBURGH TRAMS GENERAL MANAGER HAT!

Isn't it AWESOME?

I ordered it from some guy on Ebay who specialises in hats and uniforms!

He's in the United States, but I told him I could probably use him to provide all the Edinburgh Trams uniforms and head wear.

Once he'd done a bit of Googling, he said he would be DELIGHTED to enter into a water-tight contract, drawn up by our Edinburgh Trams contract experts, along similar lines to the contracts we have with the existing suppliers. He was so happy, he was sort of chuckling while he said it.

Now, you might be worried that an Ebay seller might not produce the WORLD CLASS quality which the 'Edinburgh Trams' brand deserves, but you don't have to worry about that, Marie. This guy told me he used to make hats for Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, President Saddam Hussein, and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il (among others). Apparently the bottom has recently fallen out of the ruthless dictator fashion accessory market, which means he now has spare capacity and is able to supply items to Edinburgh Trams at VERY REASONABLE PRICES!

We're already seriously behind schedule Marie, as you know, so I'd like to strike while the iron is hot and go ahead and order these hats. I can claim the expenses back when I start work.

The Ebay seller says he can do these hats at £25 each. Plus £30 for a special one with gold braid for the TRAM GENERAL MANAGER. He says he can get that gold braid off an old pair of curtains his mother has stored in an old chest in the garage.

I reckon we'll need one for each driver and conductor, and with 26 trams that's 52 hats.

Estimated costings are therefore:

52 standard hats @ £25 = £1300
1 special hat @ £30 = £ 30
Fact-finding trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to check the production facilities = £ 800
7 nights accommodation in the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas to discuss order = £6500
Hire of Meeting room at Bellagio Hotel = £2000
Tea and biscuits (standard Edinburgh Council Requirement)= £ 700
Miscellaneous Expenses = £1200
Postage = £ 200
Import Duty = £ 800
Insurance = £ 100
Headed Notepaper to place order = £ 150
Apple iPad for Ebay access = £ 500

Total: = £14,280

I am sure that you will agree that this constitutes very good value, being only about one thousandth of one percent of the overall tram budget. It's practically negligible, so I'll just get on with that.

In the meantime, please don't tell the interview panel about my great hat idea, as I still want it to be a surprise when I attend the interview ready to start work straight away!

Best Wishes,

Aldo Broon
Tram General Manager, Procurement Specialist and Visionary OF THE FUTURE

Trambles is now on Twitter, just like Edinburgh Trams!

Thanks for all the kind messages from people supporting my application for the role of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER! I'll keep you updated with the progress of my application.

Rest assured, I've got plenty more AWESOME IDEAS for creating a WORLD CLASS Edinburgh Tram System.

Particular thanks for the following mentions: who deliver a clear message to Edinburgh Trams; "A candidate like Mr Broom [sic] appears as a refreshing change .... His brand of hard headed, pragmatic lunacy may be what we need at this time."

and who accurately describe me as "Highly qualified Aldo Broon, the city's self-proclaimed TRAM VISIONARY of the FUTURE"

For those who have little better to do, you can now get notifications of updates in my quest to get myself onto Edinburgh's £1 BILLION gravy-tram via Twitter:

Sunday, 15 July 2012

How to make a CONVINCING state of the art, world class, twenty-first century tram system?


Dear Marie,

I hope this email finds you well. As you can imagine, over the past week, like many Edinburgh residents I have been doing a lot of thinking about the trams.

Although some harsh words have been uttered, rest assured I am still fully 110% behind the project!

I was doing some more 'numerical reasoning and hard maths' in my head this week and I discovered the the figures I gave in my last email were incorrect. My mistake was that I referred to the "Edinburgh Trams Final Business Case' document on your website, when of course I should have referred to the Business Case published AFTER the final business case, where passenger predictions were cut from 9.8M to only 5.4M passengers per year. My sincere apologies for any confusion caused.

My new calculations show that with the new predicted passenger numbers, we will be running at a minimum loss of £6.6M per year. Marie, we need to increase the fares, there is nothing else for it. This would be my first action if I were to be successful in my application for the role of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER.

I think we can probably get away with the same trick LRT pulled a few years ago on the buses and say that passengers don't like having to carry loose change and bung it up to £2 'by popular demand', but by my calculations we need to get a single fare up to at least £2.60 a trip before the trams start running. That would give us enough operating profit (subject to any more unforeseen circumstances) that the tram will recoup its construction cost in just under 1 millennium.

My other idea is that maybe we could do away with 'per trip' tickets altogether on buses and trams, and introduce an 'all-day' ticket for £10. Used in conjunction with yet more extensions of the controlled parking zones, and another hike in metered parking rates and we can force people onto the trams whether they like it or not!

Obviously £10 a day sounds quite a high price, but we will be able to justify it by having a STATE OF THE ART, WORLD CLASS, TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY TRAM SYSTEM!

So how do we convince people that that's what we've got, and not a creaky old single tram line that nobody wants? I've thought about that Marie, I've thought about it long and hard.

Those electronic bus times signs we currently have are quite modern looking, but we need something more FUTURISTIC for the trams. Something which crosses the language barrier to ensure that even non-English speaking tourists will be able to understand it. Also, with all the negative publicity we have been having, something that shows the human face of Edinburgh Trams.

I have come up with an AWESOME SOLUTION which addresses BOTH these requirements!


I have drawn up some rough 'artists impressions' of the sort of thing I mean. You will notice I have chosen Councillor Cardownie as one of the friendly characters to be used, as he is well known for his conflicting views on the trams which seem to change like the wind. When the trams are running on time, we can display a jovial digital picture of him looking happy, proclaiming his life-long support for the trams. When the tram is late, we can display a different image where he looks angry, and perhaps some sort of comment that he never wanted them in the first place.

That way, even tourists and the illiterate will be able to see at a glance whether they should be happy or sad about the tram they're waiting for.

We could of course expand the system to display other well-known comedy characters associated with Edinburgh's Trams, such as Councillor Lesley Hinds Transport Convener, ex-Council Leader Jenny Dawe, ex-council Transport Convener Gordon Mackenzie, and current Council Leader Andrew Burns.

IMPORTANT: On NO ACCOUNT should we use images of any ex-TIE executives who received those £100,000 severance packages, for fear of inciting riots on the streets. As Councillor Hinds implored recently, we need to drawn a line under that obscene waste of public funds, forget about it, and move on.

I've got a lot more ideas where these came from, and I look forward to having the chance to tell you about them at interview.

Best Wishes,

Aldo Broon

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

CV, and numerical reasoning

My Curriculum Vitae, and a suggestion for
the 'numeric reasoning' interview question


Dear Marie,

I have not yet received any confirmation of my previous emails regarding my application for the position of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER (£70,000 - £80,000 pa). However, I have noticed that some application instructions have now appeared on the Edinburgh Trams website, so I have taken it upon myself to follow these instructions, please consider this email the 'covering letter' for my application.

As you know by now, I am a highly motivated person, and believe my skills, experience and abilities make me about as qualified for this role as several other senior figures in this project have been for roles which they accepted.

I have attached my CV to this email, however please be advised, for reasons of commercial sensitivity, some sections have been redacted. As someone with experience of the Tram project to date, the redaction of information in documents such as this will not be unfamiliar to you.

By the way, I am very interested to know which members of the City of Edinburgh Council are expected to attend the final-stage interview panel for this process, could you let me know who they will be? Obviously I would like to 'tailor' my presentation depending on the audience.

I will be happy to undertake the verbal, numerical and inductive reasoning tests, actually, I have been thinking about those, Marie. Here's a numerical test I have made up which you might like to add:

'TRAMFACT' - A tram ticket will cost the same as a bus ticket. A bus ticket is currently £1.40 (fixed fare).

The 'Final Business Case for Edinburgh Trams', available on the Edinburgh Trams website, states the expected number of passengers on Phase 1a of the tram route is '13M in 2012' (section 1.41), resulting in a £2M profit.

A tram can seat 80 passengers.

Disregarding ALL OPERATING COSTS, how many fully seated trams would Edinburgh Trams need to transport from the city centre to the airport every day, 365 days a year, in order to achieve the predicted profit?

Answer: 48 fully seated trams a day, or 2 every hour 24/7.

Bonus Point Question:
Edinburgh Airport reports passenger numbers of 9M per year, even if EVERY SINGLE AIRPORT PASSENGER decided to take all their luggage to St. Andrews Square to then get on a tram, why do the other 4M tram passengers go to the airport?

I reckon that's a pretty good test of numerical reasoning Marie, please feel free to make use of it for the other candidates (obviously I have an advantage there as I made up the question).

I think that answers all the questions on your application form, please keep me informed regarding progress of my application.


Aldo Broon

Saturday, 7 July 2012

I could be the Tram General Manager!

Updated Application and some AWESOME ideas for the service!

Dear Marie, 

You may recall I contacted you last week enquiring about the job vacancies with Edinburgh Trams. 

I have not yet received any reply or acknowledgement to my enquiry.  I am sure I do not need to tell you, a fully qualified and professional manager of Human Resources, that if we want our claims that Edinburgh Trams are indeed 'World Class' to be taken seriously,  you are going to have to respond to your emails in a timely and efficient manner.

Not to worry though,  as I have now found out about the positions available via the pages of the Edinburgh Evening News.  Apparently I am in good company,  as Steve Cardownie,  deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council recently claimed the article in the Evening News was the first he'd heard of the Trams recruitment drive as well!

Having examined the job details in the Evening News,  I must say I was quite surprised to read that tram drivers are only to be paid (up to) a £25,000 salary.  I know they only have to master STOP and GO buttons,  but we should remember these guys will be tasked with actually making a tram travel from A to B,  something many 'Executive' staff on salaries five times that have singularly failed to do for the past 5 years, before being dismissed. 

It is with regret therefore that I must ask you to cancel my application to be a tram driver,  as I would now like to be considered for the role of TRAM GENERAL MANAGER,  it being the case that it attracts the rather more attractive salary of £70 - £80,000 per annum.

I feel my lifestyle and personal financial outgoings are more suited to such a role,  although I would like the opportunity of getting to drive a tram on occasion.  Would this be possible as General Manager? Perhaps I could sometimes drive a less important tram such as one filled with pensioners or something? I could wear a disguise if required.

In support of my application for this role,  I would like to tell you about some awesome ideas I have had for the tram system.  I would implement these straight away,  although please be aware that I have not had time to think them through properly yet, so some minor tweaks may be required.


My first idea is that we should name some components of the line in honour of those who are responsible for it.  One of the key people in development of the project is of course the aforementioned Steve Cardownie,  SNP leader and deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council.  As you may recall,  for many years Mr Cardownie was a vocal critic of the trams, even stating his (and the SNP) position was to cancel the entire project as soon as possible.

How surprised were the electorate late last year when Mr Cardownie then became the saviour of the entire project by voting AGAINST scrapping the trams when the time came! 

Prior to the recent election I had thought we should therefore name the airport stop 'THE STEVE CARDOWNIE END OF THE LINE'  but as you know, since then he has unbelieveably been re-elected (albeit on the 8th redistribution of ballots)  so I think I now prefer the idea of renaming the York place tram turning circle 'THE STEVE CARDOWNIE TRAM U-TURN' in lasting memorial of his heroic actions (and betrayal of those who voted for him).


Fancy dress trams.  I already mentioned wearing a disguise while driving a tram,  but why stop there? Why not dress up the entire tram on a variety of different themes?

This has been proven to work very well in Blackpool where they have a selection of different illuminated trams.

Ideas for our themes could be -

i) THE SPACE SHIP TRAM,  looks like an Apollo 11 space rocket on its side,  all crew would wear space suits, and pretend to float around. Special freeze-dried 'space food' snacks could be sold on board. We can get these from the shop at Dynamic Earth, they sell freeze dried strawberries and Neapolitan Ice Cream there.

ii) THE CHRISTMAS TRAM,  looks like a Santa's sleigh,  all crew dressed as elves,  driver is dressed as Santa obviously. Christmas tree on board, and on board sound system could play festive tunes.

iii) THE ORIGINAL EDINBURGH TRAM,  looks like one of the old Edinburgh trams we abandoned in 1956 when it was realised Edinburgh didn't actually need trams after all,  all crew dressed as Dickensian characters,  fare could be 1 penny.

iv) THE HUNGRY CATERPILLAR TRAM - family themed tram for kids, looks like a huge green caterpillar,  perhaps with free sweets and everyone gets a toy instead of a ticket. McDonalds or Burger King might be interested in sponsoring this one? 

v) THE (PARTY) NIGHT TRAM - a tram made up to look like a giant beer bottle on it's side. With a bar on board, the driver could also perform DJ duties, with the addition of a dual turntable in the cab. Conductor to serve cocktails to passengers. We could ramp the price right up on this one, making the tram a DESTINATION rather than just a mode of transport. Would be very attractive to stag and hen parties. Contact Heineken to see if they are interested in a sponsorship deal.

Those are just a few of my ideas so far. With 26 trams,  the possibilities are almost endless,  and people could ride a different themed tram every day for a month! This will increase passenger numbers dramatically as we challenge passengers to 'RIDE THEM ALL!', perhaps stamping a loyalty card each trip?

What Edinburgh needs is trams.

What Edinburgh Trams needs is someone like me who can 'Think outside the box'. 

I'm so far outside the box, Marie, I can't even see the box from here!

Rest assured I have got a bunch of other great ideas even better than those above,  and look forward to discussing them with you all at interview.

Best Regards,

Aldo Broon
Tram General Manager OF THE FUTURE!

I could be a Tram Driver!

2nd July 2012
Application Letter to Edinburgh Trams

Dear Sir/Madam,

I recently noticed on your website that Edinburgh Trams may soon be recruiting new staff, and would like some additional information about the positions available. Although admittedly I have no direct experience of working with tram systems per se, I have travelled on the Birmingham Air Link, a single back-and-forward line, which at a total length of 585 metres, bears many similarities to the proposed Edinburgh Tram 'network'.

I hope my lack of any knowledge of tram systems will not be considered against me, as what I lack in experience, I make up for in raw enthusiasm, something I believe this project had been lacking to date. I take some reassurance from the fact that Edinburgh Trams do not have a history of discriminating against employees who apparently have no relevant experience whatsoever.

In additional support of my application, I can confirm that I have driven a car in Edinburgh for many years (until the city centre became unnavigable), utilising both forward and stop controls. My car also has steering, although these skills would obviously be surplus to requirement on the single tram line.

I would, of course, expect competitive remuneration for any position considered. Being associated with Edinburgh Trams is something of a poisoned chalice, and it will take a certain set of skills and strength of character to deal with the public backlash, as well as the general contempt from family and friends on a day to day basis. Remember, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! (Although as you will already be painfully aware, even when you pay £100,000 salaries, there's no guarantees)

In addition to the salary scale available for the vacant positions, I am particularly interested in any severance arrangements that form part of the package. If I were to be found incompetent or unsuitable for the job, would I be entitled to a similar severance package as the former members of the TIE board? (circa £100,000+) or would this be allocated on a pro-rata basis?

Finally, although I am keen to get behind the wheel, erm, lever / button, whatever, of a tram as soon as possible, can you confirm whether the starting date is likely to be in the next decade? Should the entire project inevitably be cancelled before I take up employment, will I still be entitled to attend a long series of mediation talks at a luxury spa hotel on full expenses before the plug is finally pulled?

I look forward to hearing more about the various positions you have available,

Yours sincerely,

Aldo Broon
Potential Tram Driver of the FUTURE!

Friday, 6 July 2012


Having heard about the £100,000 payoffs made to many of the employees of  Edinburgh Trams when they were removed from their jobs, I soon realised I shouldn't be wasting time fighting the introduction of Edinburgh trams, but jumping on the gravy-tram and getting my share of the £1 BILLION wasted on the project. Read my blog to follow my quest to become an employee of Edinburgh Trams!

Aldo Broon - Edinburgh Tram General Manager of the FUTURE!