Only the former transport minister who signed off the billion-pound Edinburgh tram scheme uses it regularly, the latest MSP expenses claims show.

Liberal Democrat Tavish Scott, the Shetland MSP who piloted the final Tram Bill through the Scottish Parliament in 2006, has claimed for 11 £5 journeys from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre, while his fellow island Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur has used it twice.

The Lib Dems devised the trams with Labour in the first coalition Scottish Government against steadfast opposition from the SNP, who refused to devote any more public money when it went off the rails in 2011.

Tavish Scott and Mike Russell
Former transport minister Tavish Scott and SNP MSP Mike Russell are tram fans (Andrew Milligan/David Cheskin/PA)

SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie has since used the trams once, while former SNP education secretary Mike Russell was so impressed with his £1.50 trip from Ingliston to York Place he tweeted about its “modern European ambience”.

Elsewhere, MacKenzie claimed for seven Ordnance Survey maps at a cost of £55.93, while fellow SNP MSP Stuart McMillan claimed £9 for a Greenock street map despite being based in the town for four years.

Labour MSPs have yet to use the trams – with Claudia Beamish preferring to cycle round Edinburgh and claim 60p a time in “member’s pedal cycle” costs.

MSPs can claim expenses for cycling to work (EMPICS)
MSPs can claim expenses for cycling to work (EMPICS)

Tory MSP Jamie McGrigor claimed £263.87 for a staff member to travel to Brussels by Eurostar plus £346 for two nights in the city’s “luxury” four-star Thon Hotel.

Picture of a Eurostar tran
Some MSPs ride the tram…while others prefer the Brussels gravy train (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Fellow Tory Jackson Carlaw claimed £173 for a night in the five-star Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire in London’s Leicester Square, while Labour MSP Anne McTaggart paid £346 for two nights in London’s four-star Strand Palace.

Jackson Carlaw spent £173 for five-star luxury on London's Leicester Square (PA)
Jackson Carlaw spent £173 for five-star luxury on London’s Leicester Square (PA)

Taxis remain a popular travel choice, with current SNP transport minister Derek Mackay paying £40 for a 10-mile taxi ride from Glasgow to Inchinnan, and former SNP transport minister Stewart Stevenson taking regular £30 taxi trips home from Huntly railway station.

Current fair work minister Roseanna Cunningham has taken several £28 taxis from her home to various locations in her constituency.

SNP MSP Fiona McLeod tops the bill for the most expensive dinner at £43.40 during a one-night stay in Edinburgh, while her SNP colleague Angus Macdonald plumped for a £3 hotel meal.

Rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead is no luddite when it comes to technology, claiming £1,289 for a 27-inch Mac computer – although he did need a £12.99 Switch To Mac manual to learn how to use it.

Richard Lochhead has been dunking for pricey Apples (David Cheskin/PA)
Richard Lochhead has been dunking for pricey Apples (David Cheskin/PA)

Mr Russell paid £1,399 for a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro while his SNP colleague David Stewart settled for a £319 budget Acer Aspire.

Labour backbencher Margaret McCulloch also claimed £1,399 for a 27-inch Mac desktop, but all of these Macs combined would not pay for SNP MSP Colin Keir’s digital printer. That cost £4,194.

The total amount claimed by all MSPs over the year was £12.49 million.