Edinburgh BusesTravel around Edinburgh by public transport is pretty easy, largely due to the excellent bus service. There are several bus companies serving the city, the best known being Lothian Buses which runs 57 routes. Lothian describes itself as being "locally owned": which is another way of saying that it is in effect a council run service. Lothian is 90% owned by Edinburgh City Council, the rest of the company being owned by other local councils.
This public ownership probably accounts for the fact that - despite occasional problems - Lothian Buses is held in high regard by most locals. Unlike many cities, bus is actually the preferred method of travel for many of us here in Edinburgh. All Lothian buses feature low-floor access.
Branding for Edinburgh Buses is a little erratic. As well as the standard livery - madder red and cream - a number of "specials" have been used including various diamond overlays, a playing card theme for some services and animal designs for buses serving the zoo. In 2010 Lothian announced a new curved version of the madder and cream livery to be rolled out across the whole fleet. Some frequent cross city services will also have yellow tops and the "Connect" logo as well as individual graphics for particular services (for example the Number 5 "Morningside Maisie").
As well as the day buses there is a Night Bus network. The Lothian Bus company also operates four distinct Edinburgh bus tours as well as the Airlink 100 airport service.
In 2011 the company introduced a new eco-friendly fleet of hybrid buses which have a carbon footprint of around 62 gram CO2 per mile as opposed to 101 grams for a standard bus. The new hybrid buses are used on Route 10.
FaresSo how much does it cost?
Lothian Bus fares have increased considerably since I've been living in the city, however they're still very reasonable. Currently (April 2013) there's a flat fare system during daytime - you can go as far as you like on the daytime network for a £1.50 single adult fare (70p child under 16). A Day Ticket covers as many journeys as you want for £3.50 (£2.00 child). Up to two children under five can travel free with a fare paying adult - additional littl'uns pay the standard child fare. There's no zone system, you can go as far as the bus does (but see 'East Lothian Buses' below).
Note that Lothian buses do not give change - you need to have the exact fare ready when you board. If you're paying for a large group then notes are (reluctantly) accepted but still no change given.
'CitySingles' are packs of tear off pre-paid tickets which don't offer any discount but are convenient and avoid the need to always have the correct change. You can also buy season tickets called Ridacards which require you to initially attend a Travelshop for a photograph.
Night buses and the Airlink services have separate fare systems and are not covered by the ordinary day tickets. The tour buses also have their own fares and ticketing arrangements and are not covered by ordinary bus tickets.
Night BusesLothian currently (May 2012) runs a system of ten NightBuses which follow "much of" the routes of their daytime equivalents. The night routes are N3, N11, N16, N22, N25, N26, N30, N31, N37, N44. Most run hourly between about midnight and 4am. The Waverley Steps are normally the main interchange, however during the tram works many services are being diverted via George Street instead.
The fare structure on Night Buses is different to that during the day: there are no single fares. The price is £3, however that allows you to travel on as many of that morning's night buses as you wish. There are no child or concession prices.
East Lothian BusesIn 2012 Lothian launched a sister company, East Lothian Buses (ELB). At the time of writing (June 2012) this runs a single route, number 113, from the Western General hospital through the city centre out to Ormiston and Easter Pencaitland. East Lothian Buses has a zone based fare structure rather than a flat fare.
This site is not endorsed by or associated with Lothian Buses. Details may have changed since this page was written. Contact the company for latest service information and prices.