* Prices may differ from that shown
Although I drive, I still use lothian buses regularly to avoid parking in town or when on a night out. Lothian buses run an excellent service. A single ticket is £1.30 regardless of how far you travel, which is excellent value for me as I live about 40 mins out of town. The buses are always clean and reliable. The only problems I've had with late buses has been when there has been exceptional weather conditions or bad road works (or evil tram works). The buses even continued to run through heavy snow, albeit to a limited service and with diversions.
By far the best bit of lothian buses is the night bus service. There are regular buses throughout the night to all parts of the city and beyond. The night bus only costs £3 regardless of how far you go which is an amazing saving compared to a taxi. I regularly use the night buses and always feel very safe. And the drivers will drop me at the end of my street if I ask nicely enough.
Lothian buses are the way to travel around Edinburgh!
Having lived in Edinburgh for the last seven years now and in various parts of it I have become a regular customer on the Lothian bus service.
I can't say I'm pleased about the plans to slim down on the bus service when the tram service starts but if the price is the same as the bus (no chance) and it is as we are all being told a more enviromentally freindly method of transportation then I can forgive the delays and problems we are experiencing at them moment.
The bus service is usually clean but occasionally there will be some moron who has vomitted copiously and no one will have mentioned it to the driver. Furthermore there are always Metros left lying around for some poor cleaner to have to deal with (I tend to appreciate the odd one or two to be honest because it means I get a read myself). This kind of uncleanliness is down to public ignorance however. If there are any problems with your satisfaction all the drivers can radio for a cleaner to come out and meet their bus on route to have it cleaned!
If the drivers don't know of problems they can't do anything so by all means inform them. The drivers themselves are typically get the job done type folks (78%) with a proportionate minority of equal good and bad (6%) as well as amazing and terrible (6%), characters thrown in.
The security on the buses is really good with cameras recording on most buses over a loop and dummy cameras on the older buses.
The bus route system is very extensive and while I wouldn't like to comment on the full measure and range of stops the website for Edinburgh lothian buses is fuly comprehensive. This combined with the website Mybustracker.com and you can plan your Lothian journey to the minute using a PC or better still an e phone.
The service is unquestionably the best available in Edinburgh short of getting a free lift, walking, cycling or perhaps using some form of scooter. At £1.20 (70p child) for a single route journey and £3.00 (2.40 child) a day saver it may not be as cheap as three years ago but it's still pretty good.
All in all - where would we be without it?
All the best,
Edinburgh's main bus company, Lothian Buses, has a lot to be proud of. The buses are all clean and tidy and indeed most look brand new, as if nobody has ever been on them before so the stereotype of the run-down, tired-looking public transport system is well and truly put to bed in Edinburgh.
One of the first things one will notice about the city is the frequency of the buses. It is rare to have to wait longer than about 10-15 minutes for a bus to any part of the city from the centre. All of this comes with a simple flat fare too. Wherever one is going, however far along the route, the price is the same. It avoids long waits at each bus stop as the driver works out how much each passenger owes and then sorts out their change. There is a strict no change rule on the Lothian buses so whatever you put into the machine, any extra will not be returned but given the round fees, there really should not be any need for anyone to over-pay.
There is a slight problem at the moment because of the major roadworks on Princes Street, the main shopping street and thoroughfare of the city in that all of the buses have been diverted along the parallel-running George Street which is somewhat narrower so timings have been slowed through the very centre of the town but, given that this section of the journey lasts less than a mile, it is all over in the space of a couple of minutes so there is really no need for any worry. The added bonus is that every bus is diverted long George Street so if several buses go to one's destination and one is not sure which one will come first, they will in fact all be coming to the same place, paradoxically making this diversion probably more beneficial for the traveller.
During a recent visit to Edinburgh I had the pleasure of travelling on the Lothian Buses, and it certainly was a pleasure.
The buses themselves all look new - I didn't see a scruffy one during the whole of my fortnight's stay in Edinburgh! The buses were clean and even the seats were all comfortable!
They all have CCTV on board to deter anti social behaviour and I didn't see any signs of it so maybe that's working. I don't know how long it has been in operation so I can't make too many assumptions I suppose.
The buses have ramps so that wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs can all board easily. There are designated spaces on the ground floor of the buses for the wheelchairs and their riders to be safe on board.
This is the best part of the whole service - there is only one fare. Adults pay £1.10 (£1.20) and children pay 60p (70p) for any one journey of any length. Day tickets can also be purchased for £2.50 (£3) for an adult and £2 (£2.40) for a child giving a full day's unlimited travel on all Lothian buses.
The prices in brackets are the new fares as from 18th January 2009 but, as you can see, they are still excellent value.
There are ticket machines near some of the bus stops so you can purchase your ticket before you board the bus.
A night ticket will cost you £2.50 for all night travel after midnight and the buses are at least hourly even at night. It sounds like a good way to help cut back on drink driving incidents and it is certainly a lot cheaper than a taxi!
There is also something called Ridacard which are longer term passes valid for 1 week, 4 weeks or one year. The best value is the annual one paid for by direct debit. These give unlimited travel for the duration of the pass together with £1 discount on a night ticket.
Obviously this depends on the route in question but they seemed to range from 5 - 10 minutes for the really popular routes to half hourly for the less popular ones. Even during the night there is a least one bus an hour sometimes a lot more.
I hope all of you who live in the area appreciate how good this service is! I have never before been anywhere with a 24 hour bus service, with such a high standard of buses at such a low price! I was extremely impressed!
Lothian Buses is the company which runs the local bus service in Edinburgh.
Formerly known as Lothian Regional Transport (LRT) it was formed in 1996 and carried the LRT name up until 2000 when Lothian Buses was born.
Uniquely in Scotland, it is municipally owned with the majority of the company owned by the City of Edinburgh council.
The company runs buses city wide and to outlying towns such as Penicuik, Seton Sands and Tranent. The network runs most buses through the city centre, with the vast majority passing on or near to Princes Street. Leith is also a major interchange area in the city.
The buses are by and large very clean and pleasant to use. I really notice a difference when I travel on Lothian Buses compared to buses run elsewhere by privately owned companies. The staff on Lothian Buses are always well presented and very helpful, particularly with the large number of tourists Edinburgh attracts.
The fare structure is very simple. There is a flat fare system in operation and it costs £1.10 per one way journey for adults, and 60p for children. Child fares are for children aged between 5 and 15. If you are planning on taking more than 2 bus journeys in a day its well worth purchasing a day ticket which costs £2.50 for adults and £2 for children.
If you are a regular commuter, 1 week, 4 week and annual Ridacards are available from Travelshops within the city and can be topped up at various Pay Points citywide.
Most buses within Edinburgh are double decker buses but some routes have single deckers. The most frequent service is probably the number 22 bus which travels from Ocean Terminal shopping centre in the north to the Gyle Centre in the west, serving the Scottish Government offices, Leith and Princes Street on the way. It runs using a single decker bus but uses a guided busway in the Stenhouse area of the city to speed up bus times on what can be a very congested route.
Buses are always very clean and more modern buses have CCTV cameras and wheelchair access.
There has been something of a local commotion lately over misuse of wheelchair spaces by mothers with prams. Prams have always been banned on Lothian Buses but with the lowering floors on buses and wheelchair spaces this seems to have been ignored by both drivers and mothers with pushchairs which seem to be to get bigger with every passing year and most certainly can't be folded.
As disabled passengers have been unable to board buses due to a small minority of mothers being unwilling or unable to fold the buggies their babies are in, Lothian Buses published guidelines for all drivers regarding which kind of pushchairs could, or could not, be allowed on without being folded.
Sadly some mothers, aided and abetted by the local press, seem to think this constitutes a total ban on mothers being allowed on the bus with their buggies - however the truth of the matter is prams have always been banned from buses and Lothian are merely explaining clearly their position that foldable small pushchairs are welcome - its the larger non-folding prams that aren't.
It is also worth mentioning that by law the disabled space on the bus is for a disabled person - and any pram, pushchair or bulky luggage items have to be moved to allow a disabled person to board.
Personally I think if someone refuses to move to make way for a disabled person an on the spot fine should be issued - this would, I think, be an excellent deterrent.
Lothian Buses also operates an excellent service to Edinburgh Airport, the number 100. This is a double decker bus with extra luggage space and it runs very frequently - you rarely have to wait longer than 10 minutes for a bus to or from the airport. The bus runs through Corstorphine in the west of the city and serves Edinburgh Zoo, Murrayfield, Haymarket Station and the West End, Princes Street and Edinburgh Waverley station. The bus runs through the night too.
The city also has a good network of night buses, with some services running all week and others only running on early Saturday and Sunday mornings. These buses cost slightly more than the usual fares and if you bought a day ticket this won't be valid.
It costs £2.50 for a ticket but this is valid all night and you won't have to pay it again if you need another bus. If you have a Ridacard it costs £1.50.
The company have a comprehensive website which tells you everything you need to know about using the bus service including timetables, fares, news and even that pram policy!
If you are in Edinburgh whether it be on business or pleasure I highly recommend using Lothian Buses to get about - the company know the city well and provide an excellent service.
Update June 2009 - it's worth mentioning that Princes Street is currently closed to traffic due to works installing the new tram line so check the Lothian Buses website to find your bus stop if you are travelling into town.