Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh trams: Princes Street reopens

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Media captionPrinces Street is to fully reopen to buses and taxis this weekend

Princes Street has fully reopened to buses, taxis and bikes following tram works in Edinburgh city centre.

The busy thoroughfare between North Bridge and South St David Street opened from midnight.

The £776m tram line between Edinburgh Airport and St Andrew Square is due to be completed by summer 2014.

The project is years behind schedule and over budget, but city leaders called the return of traffic to Princes Street a "major milestone".

Bus stops outside the Princes Mall will also reinstated for both eastbound and westbound buses by early December.

The Alive After Five initiative is also to be reintroduced from 3 December to 5 January, where shops open later and evening parking charges will be waived.

It is part of a drive to encourage city shoppers to spend more time in the city centre.

York Place will remain closed to all vehicles except buses accessing the bus station.

Festive period

Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh City Council's transport convener, said: "The full reopening of Princes Street is a major milestone for the project and will help traffic to flow more smoothly over Christmas and New Year.

"Christmas is an extremely important part of the year for businesses and the council, along with traders, are looking at ways to maximise footfall all across the city centre.

"I would like to thank road users and business owners once again for their patience while these diversions were in place."

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "With the crucial festive period round the corner this is a timely boost for retailers in the east end of the city and will see improved public transport services and overall help reduce delays."

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