How we handle complaints

Edinburgh Trams is committed to providing a high-quality customer experience

This procedure has been developed in line with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman’s model for complaints handling and has been endorsed by Bus Users, the Ombudsman for tram and bus complaints in Scotland.

We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve our services.

1.    If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us.  This document describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint.  It also tells you about how we will handle your complaint and what you can expect from us.

What is a complaint?

2.    We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

What can I complain about?

3.    You can complain about things like:

  •  failure or refusal to provide a service
  •  inadequate quality or standard of service, or an unreasonable delay in providing a service
  • dissatisfaction with one of our policies or its impact on the individual
  • failure to properly apply law, procedure or guidance when delivering services
  • failure to follow the appropriate administrative process
  • conduct, treatment by or attitude of one of our employees or contractor (except where there are arrangements in place for the contractor to handle the complaint themselves); or
  • disagreement with a decision, (except where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision, or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector). 

4.    Your complaint may involve more than one Edinburgh Trams service or be about someone working on our behalf.

What can’t I complain about?

5.    There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure.  These include:

  • a routine first-time request for a service  
  • a first-time report of a fault (for example, information displays, gritting))
  • a request for compensation only
  • issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal (if you decide to take legal action, you should let us know as the complaint cannot then be considered under this process)
  • disagreement with a decision where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision (such as for freedom of information and subject access requests), or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector. 
  • a request for information under the Data Protection or Freedom of Information (Scotland) Acts
  • a grievance by an employee or a grievance relating to employment or the recruitment and selection process.
  • a concern raised internally by an employee (which was not about a service they received, such as a whistleblowing concern)
  • a concern about a child or an adult’s safety
  • an attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision
  • abuse or unsubstantiated allegations about our organisation or employee where such actions would be covered by our Online Interaction procedure; or
  • a concern about the actions or service of a different organisation, where we have no involvement in the issue (except where the other organisation is delivering services on our behalf)

6.    If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?

7.    Anyone who receives, requests or is directly affected by our services can make a complaint to us.  This includes the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service (for example, a relative, friend, advocate or adviser).  If you are making a complaint on someone else’s behalf, you will normally need their written consent.  Please also read the section on Getting help to make your complaint below.

How do I complain?

8.    You can complain in person, by phone, in writing, by email, via SMS, on social media, or on live chat.

9.    It is easier for us to address complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned.  So please talk to one of our Ticket Inspectors on the service you are complaining about.  Then they can try to resolve the issue. Alternatively, you can use the green help point located at every tram stop.

10.    When complaining, please tell us:

  • your full name and contact details
  • as much as you can about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong; and
  • what outcome you are seeking.

Expected Behaviours

11.    We recognise that people may act out of character in times of trouble or distress. However, we ask customers who are bringing a complaint to us to treat our colleagues and our organisation with courtesy, respect and dignity. For example, do not:

  • be aggressive or abusive
  • make unreasonable demands
  • make unreasonable levels of contact
  • make unreasonable use of the complaints process

12.    We may decide to restrict access to one or more of our communication channels for those who do not meet these expected behaviours.

How long do I have to make a complaint?

13.    Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:

  • the event you want to complain about; or
  • finding out that you have a reason to complain.

14.    In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit.  If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.

What happens when I have complained?

15.    We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint.  Our complaints procedure has two stages.

Stage 1: Frontline response

16.    We aim to respond to complaints quickly (where possible, when you first tell us about the issue).  This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve the problem.  

17.    We aim to acknowledge your complaint within 45 minutes* and resolve within 90 minutes*, but in no more than five working days (as required by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman).

*On average within Customer Relations opening hours.

18.    If you are not satisfied with the response we give at this stage, we will tell you what you can do next.  If you choose to, you can take your complaint to Stage 2.  You must normally ask us to consider your complaint at Stage 2 either:

  • within six months of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain; or
  • within two months of receiving your Stage 1 response (if this is later).

19.    In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a Stage 2 complaint after the time limit.  If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.

Stage 2: Escalation/Investigation

20.    Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and those that clearly require investigation, and so are handled directly at this Stage.  If you do not wish your complaint to be handled at Stage 1, you can ask us to handle it at Stage 2 instead.

21.    When using Stage 2:

  • we aim to acknowledge receipt of your request to escalate your complaint within 45 minutes*, but in no more than three working days (as required by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman).
  • we will confirm our understanding of the complaint we will investigate and what outcome you are looking for 
  • we will try to resolve your complaint where we can (in some cases we may suggest using an alternative complaint resolution approach, such as mediation); and
  • where we cannot resolve your complaint, we will give you a full response as soon as possible, normally within five working days, but in no more than 20 working days (as required by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman).

*On average within Customer Relations opening hours.

22.    If our investigation will take longer than five working days, we will tell you.  We will tell you our revised time limits and keep you updated on progress.

What if I’m still dissatisfied?

23.    After we have given you our final decision, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask our Ombudsman to look at it.

24.    As appointed by the Traffic Commissioner, and working in partnership with Lothian Buses, we recognise Bus Users as our Ombudsman.

Bus Users are an independent organisation that investigates transport complaints.  Bus Users is also an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution body for handling passenger complaints. They are not an advocacy or support service (but there are other organisations who can help you with advocacy or support).

You can ask the Bus Users to look at your complaint if:

  • you have gone all the way through the Edinburgh Trams complaints handling procedure
  • it is less than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about; and
  • the matter has not been (and is not being) considered in court.

Bus Users contact details are:

You may wish to get independent support or advocacy to help you progress your complaint.  See the section on Getting help to make your complaint below.

25.    There are some complaints that have an alternative route for independent review.  We will tell you how to seek independent review when we give you our final response on your complaint. 

Getting help to make your complaint

26.    We understand that you may be unable or reluctant to make a complaint yourself.  We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service.  We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your consent to complain for you.

27.    You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance:

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

28.    You can find out about advisers in your area through Citizens Advice Scotland:

Citizens Advice Scotland

  • Website:
  • or check your phone book for your local citizens advice bureau.

29.    We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community.  In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help you access and use our services.

If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another format, such as large font, or Braille, please contact us.

Our contact details

30.    Please contact us by the following means:

  • Via the tram stop help point
  • By phone on 0131 338 5780
  • In person to a Ticket Inspector
  • On live chat at 
  • Via SMS by texting ‘TRAM’ to 82228
  • On social media (Facebook and Twitter)
  • On email to [email protected]
  • In writing to Edinburgh Trams, 1 Myreton Drive, Edinburgh, EH12 9GF

31.    Our normal opening hours are 7am-7pm, Monday to Saturday and 11am-7pm on Sunday.

Customer Relations & Lost Property: 0131 338 5780

mticket enquiries: 0131 475 0110*

Ridacard & citysmart enquiries: 0131 554 4494*

*Answered by our sister organisation, Lothian Buses.

You can get in touch with us via email. Send your comments to: 

[email protected]

Twitter - We're available to talk to on Twitter 24/7



Text ‘TRAM’ followed by your message to 82228.

You will be charged your standard network rate message.

Edinburgh Trams, Customer Relations, 1 Myreton Drive, Edinburgh, EH12 9GF