Lothian Buses

Lothian Buses

Infobox Bus transit
name =

logo_size = 250

image_size =
image_caption = A Dennis Trident 2 / Plaxton President on route 25
company_slogan = Your locally owned buses /
...way ahead in Edinburgh /
...way ahead in Midlothian
parent =
founded = 2000 (from LRT Lothian)
headquarters = Annandale Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
locale = Edinburgh and the Lothian region, Scotland
service_area =
service_type = bus, tour bus
alliance =
routes = 50 (daytime) / 12 (night buses)
destinations =
stops =
hubs =
stations =
lounge =
fleet = 650+ [ [http://www.lothianbuses.co.uk/company.shtml Lothian Buses - The Company] ]
ridership = 114 million per annum [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburghtransportplans/Passengers-clock-up-record-number.3633013.jp TheScotsman.com - Passengers clock up record number of bus trips] - from Edinburgh Evening News 2 January 2008]
fuel_type =
operator = self
ceo = Neil Renilson
website = http://www.lothianbuses.com

Lothian Buses Plc is the largest municipal bus company in the United Kingdom and the largest provider of bus services in Edinburgh, Scotland. It also serves parts of East Lothian and Midlothian. On 7 November 2007 Lothian was voted "Bus Operator of the Year" in the 2007 UK Bus Awards, [ [http://www.ukbusawards.org.uk/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=35 UK Bus Awards 2007 results] ] and has subsequently been voted "Public Transport Operator of the Year (Bus)" at the 2008 National Transport Awards. [ [http://www.transporttimes.co.uk/;news;item/13/501/?mode=event National Transport Awards 2008 results] ] The company was cited for its substantial route development, 32 percent growth in passenger numbers since 1998 and £100 million investment in low-floor buses since 2000.

Lothian Buses plc operates the majority of daytime bus services in Edinburgh, extending to outlying suburbs, towns and villages. The company also operates several limited stop express routes, an Airport service, Park and Ride services and a comprehensive night bus network. The company also operates several tourist services. The company has 4 travel shops (three in the city centre and one in Dalkeith), and operates buses from three depot locations. The company also maintains a driver training school and an engineering depot.

Lothian Buses is the only municipally owned bus company in Scotland, being 91% owned by the City of Edinburgh council and the remainder by the councils in East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian, giving rise to the slogan "your locally owned buses", although there are currently no services to West Lothian. It is registered in Annandale Street, Edinburgh as company number SC096849 [ [http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/WebCHeck/findinfopage/ Companies House] ]

Many aspects of the Lothian operation are different to the standard practice employed elsewhere in the UK bus industry. This can mainly be attributed to a local history, strong council support, and long standing independent identity.

Company history

The company can trace its history back to the Edinburgh Street Tramways Company of 1871, also involving at various times the tramway companies of Leith, Musselburgh and Edinburgh North. The City Council (Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Department) took over operation of the tramways in 1919, at which time most of the system was cable operated. Electrification of the tram network was completed in 1923, but the first motor buses had arrived in 1919. Tramway abandonment took place between 1950 and 1956, after which the operation became the Edinburgh Corporation Transport Department.

In 1975, under the local government reorganisation which followed the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, ownership of Edinburgh Corporation Transport passed to the Lothian Regional Council Department of Public Transport. The operation was duly renamed Lothian Regional Transport.

The Transport Act 1985 deregulated bus services in Great Britain and required that municipal bus operations be run as commercial companies rather than as public service departments. Therefore, on 26 October 1986 the operation became Lothian Region Transport plc, better known by its initials 'LRT', a company wholly owned by Lothian Regional Council.

On 1 April 1996 Lothian Regional Council was abolished. Although the then Conservative government had sought to have the company privatised, this was resisted by local politicians and ownership the company passed to the new City of Edinburgh Council and the three neighbouring councils. The LRT identity remained until January 2000, when the company was renamed Lothian Buses plc, the LRT logo changing to 'Lothian'.

Post deregulation Lothian experienced alternating periods of competition and stability with the other major bus operator in Edinburgh, First in Edinburgh (First), and its previous incarnations SMT/Eastern Scottish. During this time Lothian acquired a number of smaller Edinburgh operators. In 2001, Lothian alleged anti-competitive practises by First. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/1565988.stm Bus wars to be investigated] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/1492381.stm Bus firm hits back over 'fares war'] ] This claim was later rejected. [ [http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2004/75-04 OFT judgement] ] One lasting effect of competition was the extension of Lothian services beyond the City of Edinburgh boundaries, in response to incursion by Eastern into Edinburgh city services. However, Lothian subsequently withdrew from West Lothian, leaving this area to First. Retrenchment from this area and not the others that Lothian extended into has caused concern amongst residents who had experienced low fares and greater choice of services during the period when Lothian and Eastern Scottish were competing. Although its area is no longer served by Lothian Buses, West Lothian Council remains a shareholder of the company. [ [http://business.scotsman.com/firstgroup/Bus-travellers-fury-over-fares.2816363.jp Bus travellers' fury over fares increase] ]

Operators other than Lothian and First do currently operate stage services into Edinburgh, including Stagecoach, Munro's of Jedburgh, E&M Horsburgh of Pumpherston, Perrymans of Berwick and MacEwans of Dumfries. These services tend to be long-distance routes or subsidised local services and thus offer less of a competitive threat.

Lothian Buses was voted "Best UK Bus Company" in 2002 and 2003, [ [http://www.stuckonscotland.co.uk/edinburgh/lothian-buses.html Stuck on Scotland Lothian Buses article] ] and vehicles currently carry the wording "Voted Scotland's Best Bus Company 2006" in a laurel wreath type logo near the fleetname.

In 2005 the drivers of Lothian Buses plc staged official and wildcat strikes over pay. [ [http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Bus-drivers-accept-pay-offer.2653481.jp Bus drivers accept pay offer] ] In some cases this resulted in passengers being abandoned as buses were taken out of service by drivers. [ [http://business.scotsman.com/lothianbusesstrike/New-talks-bid-after-drivers.2648719.jp New talks bid after drivers' wildcat strike] ]


Lothian operates a flat-fare system, with a daytime adult singles for any journey costing £1.10, £2.50 on Night Buses. Child fares, all-day tickets, pre-paid multiple singles and 'Ridacards' are also available, with senior citizens travelling free in line with the rest of Scotland. [ [http://www.lothianbuses.co.uk/tickets.shtml Lothian web site ticket page] ] .

Cash payment is placed in a slot, which automatically dumps into a hopper that the driver has no access to. Change is not given, increasing security and allowing passengers to board more quickly. As a consequence some Firstbus services display 'this bus gives change' as a competitive device.

The Lothian 'Ridacard' bus pass is a pre-paid plastic smart card giving unlimited travel on regular daytime services, and discounted night bus travel. It is purchased initially from a Lothian Travel Shop, where the owner's picture is incorporated on the card to prevent mis-use. Once purchased, the card can simply be placed on an on-board reader, which reads the RFID chip contained in the card. Cards can be credited for a weekly, 4 weekly or annual period. A warning is displayed on the last day of validity. The card can then be topped up at Lothian Travel Shops or Pay Point equipped retailers.

Daytime network

In conjunction with management changes and route branding, the route network has undergone considerable rationalisation, with the removal of several apparently confusing aspects such as letter prefixed routes and clockwise/anticlockwise circular services. Some services have been transferred to and re-routed in Princes Street from the parallel George Street in New Town, after the banning of cars from part of Princes Street and the closing of certain access points.

The majority of the current network comprises through routes that pass through the city centre from opposing termini. Most services pass in part or in full along Princes Street, with Bristo Place and Leith Walk being the crossing points for the remaining cross town services. There also exists a northern and a southern semi-circle orbital routes, and a local loop in the Sighthill area. Lothian bus services do not call at the St. Andrew Square Bus Station, however 12 Lothian services pass directly outside the entrance.

Many routes are contained within the Edinburgh conurbation, whereas others, most notably the 'playing card' branded routes, extend into surrounding areas, such as Penicuik, Tranent, Mayfield, Balerno and the Airport.

As in London, double deck buses show an intermediate points display, as well as a final destination, which is useful for the longer through services and many tourist passengers. In early mornings and late evenings, some services are curtailed to the centre or to early termini, in the transition to the night bus service. In such cases, 'Part Route' is displayed in the intermediate display. Certain routes have all day short working termini, and minor diversions. These are often indicated through the use of internal or external 'tram boards'.

The most recent double-deck deliveries, from 2006 onwards, feature a "Route Diverted" intermediate display, used when road closures cause a service to be diverted from its normal route.

It is thought that it is possible to travel from any point of the network to any other point, through just one change of bus, although this obviously may not always be the quickest option.

Night buses

Lothian also operates a [http://www.nightbuses.com/home.html night bus network] sponsored by the [http://www.thedungeons.com/en/edinburgh-dungeon/index.html Edinburgh Dungeon] , who also run discount offers on the back of Lothian bus tickets. All of the night services are detailed in a timetable and map [http://www.nightbuses.com/NightBuses070930.pdf pocket leaflet] .

While an earlier night bus network did exist, ridership increased when the routes were re-numbered and re-routed to match daytime routes and increased in frequency. The operation of night buses provides a continuous 24 hour bus service to most areas of the city.


Lothian operates buses from three garage locations, Longstone in the south west, Central in Annandale Street, and Marine in Seafield Road, Portobello. Located near Marine garage is Seafield engineering works, where major work on buses is carried out.

The previous company headquarters and engineering works at Shrub Hill, Shrub Place Lane off Leith Walk, were sold in 1999 subject to planning permission, after Lothian occupancy dating back to tram operation in 1871. [ [http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Planners-back-highrise-urban-village.2300195.jp Planners back ‘high-rise’ urban village] ] After repeated delays, controversies and a public inquiry [ [http://news.scotsman.com/freemasonry/Masons-hit-roof-over-lead.2423636.jp Masons hit roof over lead theft] ] [ [http://www.edinburgharchitecture.co.uk/shrub_place_edinburgh.htm Edinburgh architecture web site shrub place history] ] [ [http://homepages.tesco.net/~pilrigRA/issues/ShrubPlCampaign.htm Campaign website for Pilrig Residents Association] ] , the site was sold for £12m in 2004 to [http://www.bldev.co.uk Bl Developments] to develop the site into flats and houses. [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/lothianregionaltransport/Lothian-Buses-drives-in-the.2797902.jp Lothian Buses drives in the fast lane with £16.3m profit] ] [ [http://www.shrubhill.com/index.html BL developments Shrub Hill web site] ]

Lothian also maintains four Travel Shops. Three of these are in the city, at Waverley Bridge, Hanover Street (off Princes Street) and Shandwick Place (in the West End). A fourth Travel Shop opened at the Jarnac Court shopping mall in Dalkeith town centre on 4th February, 2008. The Dalkeith travel shop, which carries the slogan "Lothian Buses - way ahead in Midlothian" above the entrance, is the company's first one to be located outwith Edinburgh.

A Lost property office is located at the Central garage.

All bus stops are detailed with the route number/s of calling services. Certain strategic bus stops are designated interchanges, with associated signage, such as Cameron Toll and Haymarket. Many bus stops are accompanied by real time tracking display, giving the time in minutes until the arrival of the next services, or an indication that a delay has occurred.

A short section of guided busway as part of the Fastlink project [ [http://www.tie.ltd.uk/tie_pro_fast.html Tie Fastlink web page] ] exists to the west of the city, currently only used by Lothian routes 2 and 22. Scotland's first guided busway, it initially caused concerns over ride quality [ [http://www.blitzandblight.com/scotland/edinburgh/fastlink/ Article describing Fastlink] ] [ [http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Guided-buses-bump-to-a.2640875.jp Guided buses bump to a halt] ] , although it is still currently in use.

Unlike elsewhere in the country, Lothian operates a strict 'stacking' policy at bus stops. Due to the large number of services calling at some stops, when multiple buses arrive for the same stop, they will queue one behind the other, only opening their doors when at the stop.

Lothian employs a fleet of maroon and white vans fitted with amber roof lights on 'Traffic Patrol', to ensure the bus lanes and greenways are kept free, and to monitor the current service.

Tram network

Lothian Buses will be fully integrated with the forthcoming Edinburgh tram network, with both enterprises being owned by the council. Lothian services will interchange with the trams at various strategic locations. The guided busway element of Fastlink will form part of phase 1a of the tram permanent way, replacing the busway. [http://www.tramsforedinburgh.com/ Trams for Edinburgh web site] ] Early artists impressions of the trams show them in the same "harlequin" livery used on new Lothian buses. [ [http://www.tramtime.com/imagegallery.html Edinburgh Tram website Image Gallery] ] As a consequence of the trams, the fleet will be reduced in size by 19 buses. [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Bus-chief-vows-trams-will.3538917.jp Bus chief vows trams will not affect expansion] from Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 19 November 2007]

Ticketing and fares will be matched with Lothian. The fare for a single journey on the tram network will be the same as on Lothian Buses, expected to be around £1.25 when the network opens in 2011. Day tickets and Ridacards will be valid on both the trams and buses. [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Transport-chief-prices-single-tram.3338621.jp Transport chief prices single tram ticket at £1.25] Edinburgh Evening News, 17 January 2007]

In preparation for the arrival of the trams, which will not provide on-board ticketing, installation of off bus ticket machines at key bus stops has begun. These allow passengers to purchase tickets before boarding a bus. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/6034937.stm BBC NEWS | Edinburgh and East | On-street bus ticket machine plan] - updated Monday, 9 October 2006, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK] [ [http://business.scotsman.com/lothianregionaltransport/City-buses-set-to-get.2817091.jp Scotsman.com Business - Lothian Buses - City buses set to get first on-street ticket machines] from Edinburgh Evening News, Monday 9 October 2006] Similar in appearance to parking ticket machines, although these machines are red not grey.

Main service fleet

Fleet history

Edinburgh Corporation and Lothian have historically employed a high degree of standardisation of their service bus fleet, to facilitate maintenance savings. Lothian have never employed minibuses on their services, although some midibuses were used for a time. Buses have generally been purchased new - very few secondhand vehicles have been operated.

Double-deckers have long made up the majority of the fleet. In the period immediately following the Second World War, the Guy Arab and Daimler CV-series were favoured, with a smaller number of AEC Regent III. Between 1952 and 1966 some 452 Leyland Titan PD2 and PD3 were delivered (notably including 300 PD2s with MCCW Orion bodies in 1954-56 for tram replacement). With the move to rear-engined double-deckers, 588 Leyland Atlantean with Alexander bodies joined the fleet between 1965 and 1981.

With the demise of the Atlantean, the standard bus was the Leyland Olympian double decker with Eastern Coach Works or Alexander RH-type bodies (296 between 1982 and 1993). After the purchase of Leyland Bus by Volvo, Lothian remained loyal to the Volvo Olympian chassis, taking 134 with Alexander RH and Royale type bodies between 1994 and 1997. These were the last step-entrance buses purchased.

Subsequently, low floor double-deckers have been purchased. These have comprised Dennis Trident 2 with Plaxton President and Alexander ALX400 bodies, Volvo B7TL and B9TL with Plaxton President and Wright Eclipse Gemini bodies, and a small number of Scania OmniCity.

Post-war single-deckers comprised small batches of Guy Arab, Daimler CV-series, Crossley SD42, Bristol L-type, Leyland Royal Tiger and Olympic, and Albion Aberdonian. In 1959-60, some 100 Leyland Tiger Cubs with Weymann bodies were purchased to replace the assorted front engined single-deckers. In 1961 a solitary Leyland Leopard was delivered. This was number 101 (registered YSG101), which was notable as a very early example (in the UK) of a 36' long bus, for carrying the second ever example of Alexander's long-running Y-type body, and for being completed to an experimental standee layout with three sets of doors.

In 1966 the removal of disused railway bridges on Easter Road enabled the busy Leith circular services to be converted to double-deck operation. Many of the Tiger Cubs were sold to Ulsterbus, and the single-deck fleet declined markedly. Twelve more Y-type Leopards (to a more conventional specification) were purchased in 1975, and ten 1974 Bedford YRTs with similar coach specification bodies were downgraded from the coach fleet after only 1 season. Twenty dual-door Leyland Nationals arrived in 1982-85, followed by 12 dual-door Leyland Lynx in 1991. Later, some reconditioned secondhand Nationals were purchased for use on tendered services. Since the move to low-floor buses, the Dennis/Plaxton Super Pointer Dart and the Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban have been favoured, and the number of single deckers in the fleet has increased.

Minibuses and short wheelbase midibuses have not been used in large numbers by Lothian, although some midibuses had previously been used on less busy routes. Ten Seddon Pennine IV were acquired in 1973. These were replaced by 18 Leyland Cubs in 1981, which in turn gave way to 12 9m Dennis Darts with Alexander Dash bodies in 1992. When the Darts were delivered they were the only non-Leyland vehicles in the fleet. In 2001 five of these Darts were sold to Yorkshire Traction. The ones that remained were gradually cascaded to the Mac Tours subsidiary until their replacement by Optare Solo SRs in 2008.

From 1969 until 2001 Lothian favoured dual-door vehicles, which minimised loading times by allowing simultaneous boarding (at the front door) and alighting (from the rear door). However, in 2002 a decision was made to purchase single-door vehicles only, apparently to stop fraudulent lawsuits claiming that the driver closed the rear doors while they were exiting [ [http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Bus-chiefs-slam-the-door.2637295.jp Scotsman.com News - Bus chiefs slam the door on fraudsters and fare dodgers] from Edinburgh Evening News 22 June 2005] . There is an ongoing programme of converting earlier low-floor dual-door vehicles to single door.

Another policy change introduced by the current management team was the fleet replacement policy. The previous policy was to never sell a fleet bus second-hand, preferring to break it up for spares or cascade it to the Tours or driver training fleets. This was ostensibly to prevent competitors buying them and using them against the company. The new management team recognised the high resale value of Lothian's retired fleet buses, due to the firm's exceptionally high maintenance standards. As a result, many operators throughout the UK now employ former Lothian vehicles.

Until recently, Lothian and its predecessors operated a small coach fleet. Until 1976 most coaches were lightweight types (mainly Bedfords), but subsequently Leyland Leopard, Tiger and Dennis Javelin were purchased. An oddity (in that it was an import in the hitherto 100% British Lothian fleet) was a Toyota minicoach, new in 1993. The coach operation was closed down in order to concentrate on stage services and the open top sightseeing tours.

Current vehicles

Lothian Buses has a modern fleet by national standards, with an average vehicle age of 5.6 years [ [http://www.busandcoach.com/newsStory.aspx?id=598 Bus and Coach News - Lothian orders Euro 3 and Euro 4] published 7 February 2006] . Conversion to an all low floor fleet is well under way, with the last remaining high floor vehicles being replaced with new deliveries.

The majority of the current main service fleet comprises:
** Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodies
** Volvo B7RLE with Wright Eclipse Urban bodies
** Optare Solo SR - in use on MacTours services 61 and 69
** Leyland Olympian with Alexander R-type bodies
** Volvo Olympian with Alexander R-type or Royale bodies
** Dennis Trident 2 with Plaxton President bodies
** Volvo B7TL with Plaxton President and Wright Eclipse Gemini bodies
** Volvo B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodies
** Scania OmniCity

Five Alexander ALX400-bodied Tridents were also operated in the main fleet (501-505), but all of these have now been converted to open top buses for The City Sightseeing Tour. Plaxton President-bodied 506-508 have also been converted.

A Scania OmniCity N94UA articulated bus is also owned by the company, as number 50 ("YN54 ALO"). This was a demonstrator built for Scania in November 2004, who demonstrated it to Cardiff Bus (600) [ [http://chrisbusphotos.fotopic.net/p46575858.html Image of Scania articulated demonstrator with Cardiff Bus] ] , Stagecoach London [ [http://kfcpics.fotopic.net/c1181509.html Image gallery of Scania articulated demonstrator with Stagecoach London] ] , First London (OM1) [ [http://chrisbusphotos.fotopic.net/p16243708.html Image of Scania articulated demonstrator with First London] ] and Manchester Airport [ [http://jonathan-gallagher.fotopic.net/p34940063.html Image of Scania articulated demonstrator with Manchester Airport] ] , and which appeared at the 2005 Cobham bus rally [ [http://cornishbussceneontour.fotopic.net/p18076440.html Image of Scania articulated demonstrator at 2005 Cobham bus rally] ] . It was then bought by Lothian in April 2008, who painted it in the Park and Ride green livery [ [http://donaldstirling.fotopic.net/p50028543.html Image of Lothian 50 articulated bus in Park & Ride livery] ] for use on a special roster on the X48 [http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_edin_t/0_edinburgh_transport_buses_2005_bus_888.htm Edinphoto.org.uk Details of Lothian articulated buses] .

Current deliveries are drawn from the Volvo / Wright combination.

All new vehicles are fitted with internal and external CCTV cameras and cab radios, for passenger and driver safety [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Bus-driver-stabbed-in-weekend.3285706.jp Bus driver stabbed in weekend of violence] ] , bus lane enforcement and assisting the police [ [http://news.scotsman.com/weirdoddandquirkystories/Its-not-fare-as-city.3339600.jp It's not fare as city bus sent Oxford Street fine] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/6710375.stm Hit-and-run girl calls flood in] ] , although they have also been used in action against the company's own drivers. [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Bus-driver-sacked-for-throwing.3275291.jp Bus driver 'sacked for throwing off fare dodger' loses dismissal case] ] [http://business.scotsman.com/firstgroup/Bus-drivers-put-lives-at.3339308.jp Bus drivers 'put lives at risk'] ]


Lothian has from time to time had demonstration vehicles in service with the main fleet. Notable examples have included the following:

*In the 1990s Lothian trialed a Volvo B10L / Saffle single-decker (156, L456 JCK) to evaluate low-floor buses. It was owned by Volvo but painted in LRT Lothian madder/white livery, with additional lettering advertising the low floor nature of the bus.

*During 2005 Lothian trialed the bendy-bus concept using an articulated Hispano bodied Volvo B7LA (888, FJ53 LZZ) in London red and grey colours with Harlequin diamond vinyls applied. [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/The-bendybus--Edinburghs-flexible.2606698.jp The bendy-bus - Edinburgh's flexible friend?] ] No orders followed this trial, and the bus went elsewhere, but in 2008 a Scania ex-demonstrator artic was purchased for use on the X48 Park & Ride.

*An East Lancs bodied Scania OmniDekka double decker (999, SN04 CPE) was delivered new to Lothian in the Harlequin livery, on loan from Scania. Although it was returned to its owners after its year on loan (and was subsequently converted to an open top bus for use in London [ [http://www.oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk/upload160406/THE%20BIG%20YELLOW%20BUS%20SN04CPE%20THE%20STRANDosr%20110406%20Gavin%20Francis.jpgImage of Lothian 999 converted to London's Big Yellow Bus open topper] ] ), the trial led to the purchase of Scania OmniCity double deckers for the Airlink service.

Guided buses

For the services running along the guided busway (see Infrastructure section), Volvo B7RLE's 101-135, and Dennis Tridents 613-625 are fitted with guide wheels. These buses are also identified with a 'G' after the fleet number. Further vehicles are also fitted with the guide wheel mountings, but with no wheels fitted, to provide reserve capacity. In March 2008 Lothian Dennis Trident 620G ("SN51AYD") was used with other vehicles to test the ride quality of the partially built Cambridgeshire Guided Busway [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7290000/newsid_7292300/7292386.stm?bw=bb&mp=wm&news=1&bbcws=1 BBC News video clip of Lothian 620G on the Cambridgeshire busway] . Also, a currently unknown number of Volvo B9TL's have also been fitted with Guide wheels.

Main fleet liveries & route branding

While Lothian had traditionally maintained a uniform livery for all buses, deliveries of low floor vehicles has seen a new standard livery introduced. Low floor vehicles have also seen route branding come to be increasingly used by Lothian. Route branding highlights the route of certain services. Different roof colouring also makes it easier to spot your bus in the busy operating environment of Princes Street.

tandard liveries

Traditionally, Edinburgh Corporation, Lothian Regional Transport (LRT) and Lothian Buses had a livery of madder (a dark red) and cream (white), with matching madder leatherette seating. Some coach-seated Leyland Olympian / Alexander RH-types and Volvo Olympian / Alexander Royales have been painted in the same scheme, but with red in place of the madder. These vehicles are not branded for, but are typically found only on, routes 15/15A.

In 1999-2000, a new "harlequin" livery was introduced for all new vehicle deliveries, comprising all-over white, with madder lower skirting with a thin red separating stripe and a red front-panel. Gold and madder overlapping diamonds were added to the rear quarters and the rear of the vehicle. The red front serves to distinguish approaching Lothian vehicles from the all-over white of First in Edinburgh. The livery was simplified in 2002 with the diamonds originating from a different position and no longer overlapping each other. This new livery was intended to highlight the low floor accessible nature of these buses. As such it has not been retrospectively applied to older vehicles in the fleet, with the Alexander Royale bodied Olympians the last vehicles to be delivered in the traditional madder and white scheme.

With the nearing completion of low floor deliveries it is not yet known whether the classic madder livery will be rein-stated or retained in any form, or what will happen to the red coach seat livery.

Minor route branding

Route 22/N22 branding in madder is applied to the colours on buses dedicated to that service due to their guided busway capabilities. Route 30 branding in orange is found on buses dedicated in the main to this route. Originally, twelve buses had been branded for route 35 but in November 2007 a similar number of buses, ten ex-Airlink and two from the 2004 delivery of Tridents, were branded for the 35. This featured a purple circle with the name "Airport-Holyrood-Government Link" and a route description on the sides, similar to those used for the 22 and 30, above the purple circle. Certain single deckers have extra branding promoting the Nightbus network.

From time to time, some buses will have wraparound advertising applied, either to the whole bus, an entire side or the entire rear of the bus. Ridacards are advertised on the entire side of older Olympians.

Penicuik City Link

Buses for routes 37, 47 and X47 between Edinburgh and Penicuik are branded as "Penicuik City Link", with blue uppers and roofline, and the positions of the red and madder on the skirting transposed.

Playing cards theme

Single-deck buses for service 29 are branded with extra red in the livery and the slogan "The Best Deal", while similar buses for service 49 carry a navy/blue version of this scheme and are branded with the slogan "The Leader of the Pack".

Four double decker routes using the low-floor scheme are based on a playing card theme, with the symbol of the suit incorporating the route number;
* Route 3/3A is "Club Class - across the City and Midlothian" with extra yellow on the uppers and roofline and a black "club" symbol.
* Route 26 is "East to west through the heart of the city" with golden and red uppers and roofline, and a red "heart" symbol pierced by an arrow.
* Route 31 is "Ace of Spades - cutting across the city and Midlothian" with orange uppers and roofline, and a black spade symbol.
* Route 44 is "Service with a Sparkle" with black uppers and roofline and a yellow diamond symbol.


History of tour operations

Lothian had operated city tours using white liveried coaches. Later, Atlanteans were employed in this same livery, with blinds for City Tour. These wore an updated version of the white livery with blue detailing. [ [http://lothianbuses.fotopic.net/p37251134.html Fotopic image of the Lothian white livery on an Atlantean] ] An Edinburgh Classic Tour was set up using open top Atlanteans, and later Olympians, which competed with Guide Friday. These used a blue and white livery, and used named vehicles such as "Scottish Star", "Lothian Star" and "Highland Star" [ [http://lothianbuses.fotopic.net/c1167578.html Fotopic collection of the Edingburgh Classic Tour fleet] ] [ [http://opentopbus.fotopic.net/c833568.html Fotopic collection of the Edingburgh Classic Tour fleet] ] . Lothian also operated an open top tour in Oxford under the Classic Tour identity.

In July 2000 Lothian became one of the first operators to join the City Sightseeing franchise model, re-branding and upgrading the Classic Tour. Lothian purchased the first purpose built low-floor open top buses [ [http://www.city-sightseeing.com/news_2000 City Sightseeing news page] ] , in a tartan scheme with City Sightseeing fleetnames [ [http://lothianbuses.fotopic.net/p45811547.html Fotopic image of a Tartan liveried low floor City Sightseeing tour bus] ] . The Classic tour was completely transformed into the City Sightseeing red scheme by May 2001 [ [http://www.city-sightseeing.com/News/news_17a City Sightseeing news page] ] . In May 2002 City Sightseeing acquired its biggest rival Guide Friday. This led to the Guide Friday Edinburgh fleet being absorbed into Lothian, leaving Lothian as the only tour operator in the city.

A special bus service has previously been run from George Street into Edinburgh Castle via The Mound. This service used at least two of the Dash bodied Darts, in a dedicated overall livery. [ [http://ac-transport-photos.fotopic.net/p7232019.html Fotopic image of the Edinburgh Castle bus] ]

Open top bus tours

Lothian operates several open top double deck tour bus services, under four distinct brands: City Sightseeing, Edinburgh Tours, Mac Tours and The Majestic Tour. The City Sightseeing tour is operated by Lothian as a franchise of the City Sightseeing brand.

All tour buses operate from the east side of Waverley Bridge, opposite Waverley station, Edinburgh's main railway station. Tour can be boarded and alighted throughout the day from there and other selected locations.

City Sightseeing, Edinburgh Tours and Mac Tours visit the Old Town, New Town, Calton Hill, Holyrood Palace and The Castle, albeit on slightly differing routes. The Majestic Tour operates a long loop from Holyrood and New Town, via the Botanic Gardens, to the coast at Ocean Terminal, the site of the former Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Mac Tours operation uses Routemaster buses in a dark red and cream livery, with Edinburgh Vintage Bus branding. Edinburgh Tours and The Majestic Tour operate converted former main Lothian fleet Olympians. Edinburgh Tours wear a green and cream livery, while The Majestic Tour wears a blue and yellow livery. City Sightseeing operates a mixture of converted former main fleet Olympians, and more recently, converted former main fleet Tridents. These wear the allover City Sightseeing red graffiti scheme, with local branding.

Attractions accessible by bus

As well as the central area attractions, several other popular tourist attractions in the suburbs of Edinburgh and beyond are accessible by Lothian bus:

*Edinburgh Zoo: 12, 26, 31, X48
*The Royal Yacht: 1, 11, 22, 34, 35, 36
*Botanic Gardens: 8, 17, 23, 27
*Rosslyn Chapel: 15
*Lauriston Castle: 24
*Butterfly and Insect World: 3/3A, 29
*Midlothian Snowsports Centre: 4, 15/15A
*Newhailes House: 30

Mac bus services

The Mac Tours business unit, in addition to open top tours, also operates three bus routes in Edinburgh. Until 2008, these were operated using a fleet of Dennis Dart Alexander Dash midibuses, a type once found in the main Lothian fleet, but they have now been replaced with Optare Solo SR buses.

Route 60 and 69 are normal bus services, and wear the same colours as the tour buses without the ancillary wording, although the 'Mac Tours' fleetname is used.

Route 61 is an express service operated for the Standard Life insurance company, who have offices in the city. These wear an allover yellow livery, with Standard Life branding.

The Mac Tours bus livery was also applied to three 1990 Mercedes Benz 709D minibuses (27-29) acquired from Western [ [http://www.busspotter.com/ Mac Tours fleet as detailed on 23 Oct 2007] ] and which were also re-trimmed with original-pattern London Routemaster moquette. These buses have now been sold.

Airport services

Lothian operates standard, express and shuttle services to Edinburgh Airport located to the west of the city.

tandard buses

Lothian double deck service 35 and night bus service N22 terminate at the airport.

Although Route 35 does not call at Princes Street, it interjects many other services of the standard bus network at these places:

* Gyle Centre (2, 12, 18, 21, 22, 24)
* Calder Road (3/3A, 25, 20, 25, 30, 32, 33, 34)
* Slateford Road (4, 44/44A)
* Lauriston Place (2, 41, 42)
* South Bridge (8, 29, 37, 47)
* Easter Road south (5, 15/15A, 19, 26)
* Leith crossroads (7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 49)
* Ocean Terminal (1, 11, 22, 34, 35, 36)

Airlink 100

The company operates a dedicated limited stop service, route 100, to the Airport from Waverly Bridge along Corstorphine Road. This service uses a dedicated fleet, special fares and its own [http://www.flybybus.com/ web-site] . An orange winged 'A' logo adorns the web site and the interior/exterior of the vehicles. Airlink 100 tickets can be bought from the driver, from an airport kiosk, or online (must be printed).

The Airlink 100 service calls at these stops only:

* Waverly Bridge
* West End (Shandwick Place)
* Haymarket
* Wester Coates
* Murrayfield
* Edinburgh Zoo
* Drum Brae
* Maybury
* Hilton Hotel
* Airport

The Airlink fleet comprises Polish built Scania OmniCity double deckers fitted with coach seating, luggage space, and some train carriage like seat and table arrangements. The buses wear a special livery of white and light/dark blue, with orange detailing, introduces with the conversion to low floor buses. The service was previously operated by Olympians in an earlier "Airline" blue livery [ [http://leandrotavolare.fotopic.net/p19115906.html Fotopic image of Airline livery] ] .

Previous company practice has been to replace Airlink vehicles after a relatively brief period of service with new buses, cascading replaced vehicles to the main fleet after suitable modifications to standard. This maintained a young Airlink fleet on the premium route. It is unclear whether this cascading practice will continue now the service uses a vehicle type that is not currently featured in the main fleet.

Edinburgh Shuttle

The [http://www.edinburghshuttle.com/ Edinburgh Shuttle] is a shared airport shuttle service, using a fleet of fifteen orange liveried 7 seat minibuses with luggage space.

The service is timetabled up to every 15 minutes but follows no set route - rather it can be requested to pick up or set down within a defined [http://edinburghtransport.co.uk/edinshuttle/ES-expandedMap07.pdf map area] as a demand responsive transport service. Originally covering the central area, in October 2007 it was extended to Leith, Ocean Terminal and Cameron Toll. It can also be boarded at the Airport arrivals coach park or Waverly Bridge. Like a taxi, the service can be pre-booked by phone or online, but as a bus service it can also be hailed in the street. It can also use bus lanes. Passengers pay a flat fare of £9 per person, discounted for 2 or more people. The service takes approximately 30 minutes, with the route decided on an ad-hoc basis based on bookings/set downs and traffic conditions.

A subsidiary company of Lothian Buses, it was launched in December 2006 to exploit the gap in the airport transport market between conventional bus services and private hire taxis [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Doortodoor-airport-shuttle-service-is.2825536.jp Door-to-door airport shuttle service is ready for take-off] Edinburgh Evening News, 10 November 2006] . Since its creation the service had caused concern with the city's taxi drivers, and recent observations of £5 fares for non-airport running due to the hail and ride nature have caused the council to look into the service's operating licence. [ [http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Shuttle-faces-probe-into-illegal.3326603.jp Shuttle faces probe into 'illegal fares'] Edinburgh Evening News, 13 September 2007] [ [http://www.uk-airport-news.info/edinburgh-airport-news-150907.htm Row over Edinburgh Airport shuttle service] UK-Airport-News.info, 15 October 2007]

Park & Ride

Edinburgh has a network of existing and proposed Park and Ride sites [ [http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/transportedinburgh/parkride/index.html Edinburgh Council Park and Ride web page] ] . Lothian buses call at some of these sites:


* Ingliston A8 (West) - 35, X48
* Hermiston A71 (West) - 25, 34 (X25/45 Peak Times Only)
* Newcraighall A1 (East) - 30 (Stops on the main road only), 45 (peak times only)
* Sheriffhall A7 (South) - X48, 49 [ [http://www.midlothian.gov.uk/Article.aspx?TopicId=0&ArticleId=19119 Midlothian Council ] ]
* Straiton A701 (South) - 47, X47, 67 (from October 20 2008) [ [http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/transportedinburgh/Roads/Rides/Straiton/straiton.html Straiton Park and Ride ] ]

Standard fares and Ridacards apply on these services. The X48 uses a batch of Park and Ride branded low floor Darts. These buses wear the standard harlequin scheme, but with a pea-green roof and skirt. Ex-Airlink and Route 35 Tridents 541-545 have been painted into a double-deck version of the X48 livery, which is applied in a similar layout to the "playing card" routes. These buses are used on peak workings of the X48. Additional yellow wording, on all vehicles, indicates the Park and Ride service. [ [http://www.tie.ltd.uk/tie_pro_inglis.html Tie web page with a branded X48] ]

Contract services

National Galleries

Lothian used two purpose-liveried single deckers (National 144, B144KSF, and more recently SPD 175, V175 EFS) to provide a free bus service for the national galleries in Edinburgh between 2000 and 2008. [ [http://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/page/2:91:1/ National Galleries website free bus details] ] The bus linked the National Galleries at The Mound, with the Dean Gallery and the Portrait Gallery. Due to the funding for this service being withdrawn, it ceased to run at the end of February, 2008. Dart 175 is now being re-liveried for the X48 Park & Ride service.

Edinburgh University Shuttle Bus

Lothian currently operates a free semester time shuttle bus service for Edinburgh University, linking the southern King's Buildings campus with the Central Campus [ [http://www.ed.ac.uk/intranet/students/shuttlebus.html Edinburgh University shuttle bus page] ] . This service picks up and sets down within King's Buildings and on George Square, with an additional set down in Buccleuch Street.

The service is only available to students and staff. In 2006/7 this service was provided using main fleet buses of the Volvo Olympian Royale bodied type, in standard livery, with the green display blind 'Special Service'.

King's Buildings is also an alternate Monday to Saturday terminus of route 41, alternated with Craighouse every second journey.

Forth Tours

As of 2007 Mac Tours has operated a bus for [http://www.forthtours.com/ Forth Tours] providing departues from Waverly Bridge for their various tours and cruises of the Firth of Forth [ [http://www.forthtours.com/bus.asp Forth Tours web page bus timetable] ] . The bus used is an Alexander Royale bodied Olympian 433 (P433 KSX), not, as is shown on the Forth Tours web page a Northern Counties bodied Olympian. It carries a special yellow and blue overall livery with the destination blind panelled over [ [http://grant-thomson-buses.fotopic.net/p40744265.html http://garagecat.fotopic.net/p45937097.html Fotopic images of P433 KSX with Forth Tours livery] ] .

Bus 433 has a previous nautical connection, having previously been used on the now discontinued limited stop express service X50 to the Royal Yacht at Ocean Terminal, wearing another similar dedicated all over livery [ [http://s110.photobucket.com/albums/n98/Lujille85/433%20-%20502%20-%20New%20colours%20for%20Lothian/ Photobucket images of P433 KSX with Brittania Express livery (photos 433-03 and 433-04)] ] .

Forth Fast Hovercraft

In July 2007 Lothian provided two buses (L973/4 MSC) on hire to Stagecoach to provide two shuttle bus services between Portobello to the City Centre (X90) and Portobello to Ocean Terminal, Leith (X91). This was in conjunction with Stagecoach's trial of a Hovercraft service from Portobello to Kirkcaldy. [ [http://www.stagecoachbus.com/fife/forthfasttimetable.html ForthFast by Stagecoach] ] These buses, Alexander R-Type Volvo Olympians, carried a blue livery and the ForthFast branding.

Driver training

Lothian maintains a driver training school with an associatied training fleet, made up of vehicles withdrawn or taken from the main fleet. The fleet wears an allover yellow livery with driver training signage and 'Drive a bus with us' logos. Destination boxes are usually blanked out on these vehicles.

Driver training vehicles have historically been drawn from withdrawn vehicles from the main fleet. While Olympian double deckers have been the recent mainstay of the fleet, recently there has been a move to the Dart SPD single deckers. This is due to a recent legislation change requiring vehicles used for a PCV test to be fitted with ABS.

A small number of route markers exist to assist drivers at confusing points of the network, or when diversions are in place. Type training may occur when a new type of vehicle enters the fleet.

Lothian policy dictates drivers are liable for any fines incurred for driving offences successfully prosecuted, and the company employs a driving standards officer who can monitor bus speeds with a speed gun.


Routes correct at 6 October 2008.

Daytime services

Preserved vehicles

Many vehicles previously used by Lothian Buses and its predecessor companies have been preserved (or are awaiting preservation) by various groups and societies. Several of the vehicles regularly appear at events, rallies and running days around the country.

External links

* [http://www.lothianbuses.com Lothian Buses official website]
* [http://www.flybybus.com Airlink 100 official website]
* [http://www.edinburghshuttle.com/ Edinburgh Shuttle official website]
* [http://news.scotsman.com/newsfront.aspx?sectionid=10917&IsTopic=1 Lothian Buses Category] in the The Scotsman newspaper website
* [http://scotlandbuses.fotopic.net Scotland Buses - Lothian's Buses enthusiast's picture website]
* [http://andrewcairns.fotopic.net/p44263623.html Line-up image of all the major branded Lothian double-deckers as of Feb 2008]
* [http://bobsroutemasterpage.fotopic.net/c576032.html Fotopic gallery of Mac Tours Routemasters, 2005]


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