THE Scottish capital is on course to meet its green targets after wooing six million new public transport travellers.

One key transport hub in Edinburgh alone has seen double the number of passengers in the run-up to Christmas.

The popularity of Ingliston park and ride at Edinburgh Airport to the west of the city follows the introduction of the controversial £776 million trams in May.

The trams are on course to reach the target of six million by next summer after three million used the service in its first six months.

Meanwhile, Lothian Buses recorded an all-time high of bus users in the last year with three million journeys more than the previous year, reaching a total of 115 million.

The busiest week of 2014 for buses was the second last in August when there were 2.6m trips taken in seven days, the busiest recorded week in 25 years.

Edinburgh Trams' best was the first week of operation when 130,000 got on board. Since then the service has been averaging more than 90,000 a week.

At Ingliston, around 10,000 parked up for free before taking the tram or bus into the city on the first two weeks of December.

The jump is considered an important indicator for future integrated travel use, seen as central to meeting European emissions levels by cutting car fumes, in which the city is already lagging.

Lothian Buses said £15m was invested in 65 new low emission buses that will "significantly impact on improving the City's air quality and lower carbon emissions".

These are targeted at high pollution zones.

Edinburgh City Council transport convener Lesley Hinds accepted meeting EU targets by 2020 is a challenge but that the new figures are encouraging.

Ms Hinds said: "Edinburgh is already bucking the national trend in having more people using public transport, cycling or walking to get to work and these welcome figures from Transport for Edinburgh are further evidence of this.

"We are committed to delivering a truly integrated public transport system for the capital, helping residents and visitors get from A to B in comfort and in a way that suits them best. I look forward to continuing this work with all our partners in the coming years ahead."

Edinburgh Green councillor Gavin Corbett said more needs to be done to tackle congestion and emissions in the confined streets of the capital.

He said: "We need to accelerate the progress that has been made. We are still some way from our European comparators."

In Glasgow measures including a controversial bus gate have helped reduce numbers of cars but it is not expected to meet green targets until 2025.

Ingliston received a Transport for Edinburgh branding overhaul and a major marketing campaign push this year with the tram service launch.

The figures come after a difficult year for the council's arms length joint bus and tram firm, with Lothian Buses dogged by a boardroom row played out in the media, three collisions involving trams and buses and concerns raised over tram passenger figures and the counting of concessionary fares, although the council said numbers are "in line with budget".

Transport for Edinburgh Chief Executive Ian Craig said: "We saw an immediate jump in the number of cars parked at Ingliston after tram launch which you would expect but what's really pleasing is a surge in the figures during festival season and a near doubling in the run up to Christmas.

"Ingliston had new signage and a marketing and social media campaign to push them to city visitors as much as possible so it's good to see results coming through.

"The city's park and ride facilities are a real asset for anyone who wants to avoid the traffic and a parking challenge once in the city centre."