Gordon King, as the Edinburgh partner of Baird Lumsden, should know better ("Edinburgh trams could create shopping bonanza", The Herald, January 8).

Those of us who have been monitoring the project envisage that it will produce a negative result, not a "shopping bonanza".

With traffic pinch points that will cut out bus and taxi lanes at the east end of Shandwick Place, at the South St Andrew Street/Princes Street junction and in York Place, the city is heading for even worse traffic chaos with long periods of congestion. This is what you get when you try to run a light railway along major roads which carried the bulk of city centre traffic. To remove two-and-a-half lanes from the major arteries through the city is folly.

Shoppers from outside Edinburgh have been significantly deterred by the tram works; once the trams starts to run the resulting chaos and congestion will ensure they never return.

Mr King talks about the "convenience of regular, well-run mass transit" in spite of the fact trams have only one stop on Princes Street. In reality the buses serve the shopping public much more effectively.

Furthermore, with capacity for 356 passengers with 250 standing, it does not make for a comfortable journey, particularly if you have just arrived off a long-haul flight. Also, the tram cannot be rerouted to cope with disruption or breakdown.

Mr King claims that trams will cause less traffic noise and pollution. Edinburgh City Council's Mott Macdonald report states that 139,500 households (280,000 people) would receive more pollution if the full trams system were to be completed. Pollution on Princes Street, where no-one lives, may be less, but if you move the traffic then you move the pollution and noise.

Your article mentions a cafe culture; with Princes Street now blighted by tram poles and hanging wires, spoiling the wonderful views of the castle and Old Town, this will be hard to achieve. In addition, the outdoor cafe culture which already exists in George Street could be destroyed by buses from Princes Street having to be diverted due to traffic congestion.

PT Barnum said: "Build it and they will come", which may have been the idea of the city council initially.

All we have is a link from the airport to St Andrew Square which has effectively bankrupted the city.

Edinburgh trams will be a millstone around the necks of all city council taxpayers for decades to come – not much of a bonanza.

Allan Alstead,

49 Moray Place,