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Scottish capital public transport shake-up on the cards

Words: Roger Milne
Edinburgh / iStock-486546269

The Scottish capital’s council-owned bus company is set to be merged with Edinburgh Trams to form a single operation in a major reorganisation of public transport in the city to put an end to competition between buses and trams.

The move to bring together Lothian Buses and the tram company, and in the process scrapping the overarching organisation Transport for Edinburgh, would mean savings in senior management and other operational costs, the city council believes.

Establishing a single, integrated company would be accompanied by a comprehensive new public transport strategy. This would involve a redesign of Edinburgh’s bus network, which would include tackling congestion in the city centre, particularly reducing the number of buses using Princes Street.

The council said the Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams brands would remain. The city council will now have talks with the other Lothian authorities, which own 9 per cent of the shares in Lothian Buses.

A report considered by councillors this week acknowledges the continuing success of the existing companies in providing high-quality, award-winning transport services.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “This is about creating a sustainable, accessible and joined-up public transport system that is fit for the future. As we’ve experienced over recent months, and will continue to do so, our city, like others, is undergoing a significant period of change as a result of Covid-19, and we must adapt in response. We simply must change the way we move around the city if we are to meet our ambitious goals to become carbon-neutral by 2030 and to create a fairer, more inclusive environment.”

The new public transport plan will be a key deliverable from the city’s emerging mobility plan.

Image credit | iStock