History of Lothian Buses

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lothian Buses 598, a Dennis Trident with Plaxton President bodywork, operating route 25

Lothian Buses Plc is one of two municipal bus companies in Scotland (The other being DGC in Dumfries & Galloway)[1] and the largest provider of bus moundservices in Edinburgh, Scotland. City of Edinburgh Council own 91% of the company with the remainder being owned by East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian councils. As well as serving Edinburgh, Lothian Buses also serve parts of East Lothian and Midlothian. The company is owned by all 4 councils and this has given rise to the slogan your locally owned buses although there are currently no services to West Lothian. Lothian Buses are registered in Annandale Street, Edinburgh as company number SC096849.[2]

Origins and first services[edit]

Edinburgh Corporation introduced its first motor bus in July 1914.[3] This service was short lived, with the buses being requesitioned for wartime use. Services did not resume until after the war.[4]

The Corporation took responsibility for the trams in July 1919. At the same time, it began tour services using Leyland charabancs. The first regular bus service began on 29 December 1919, being extended the following March.[5]

Corporate entities[edit]

A Lothian (Mac Tours) open top bus on a victory parade for Heart of Midlothian F.C.

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 on 1 July 1919, at which time most of the system was cable operated.[6] In 1928, given the increasing importance of buses, the Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Department was renamed the Edinburgh Corporation Transport Department.[7]

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'.

On 15 August 2013, Edinburgh Council announced the creation of Transport for Edinburgh, a new public body meant to oversee public transport in Edinburgh, including both busses and the new tram system. Transport convener for Edinburgh Council Lesley Hinds stated: "Our first priority will be integration between bus and tram services and we will have the executive directors of Lothian Buses on the board of the new organisation".[8]

Fleet History[edit]

Lothian 857 (J857 TSC), An Alexander bodied Leyland Olympian in the last version of the traditional madder and white livery

In 1919, Edinburgh Corporation bought their first Leyland charabancs, for tour services.[9]

The Corporation was authorised to purchase 30 more buses in early 1920 for £25,000.[10]

By the middle of 1920, the Corporation had around 60 Leyland buses in service or on order. Of of these orders, a 33 seat 'Edinburgh type' single-decker bus body with rear door and a separate smoking compartment at the back, mounted on a 4 ton 36-40hp Model O chassis with worm drive axle, was exhibited at trade shows during the year, the Darlington Royal Show in June and the Commercial Motor Show at Kensington Olympia in October.[11][12] This body type, in which the driver also had his own compartment, was already reportedly well-known and popular by 1921.[13] One reason for the complete enclosure of the driver was to increase protection against the weather, which in Edinburgh could be considerably cold.[14]

Some of the earlier rear entrance buses had narrow doors, which slowed down boarding/alighting. As a result, these were widened during overhaul. By early 1922, two Edinburgh type buses were in service with a centre door layout, i.e. between the axles. Featuring a wide door with a central hand rail, and signage directing passengers to board on the right of it and alight on the left, early indications were that this not only speeded up boarding/alighting, it increased the space available for standees.[15]

By 1925, the Edinburgh type had further evolved to feature two doors, front and rear, albeit reduced to 31 seats. It was also now being fitted to 45hp AEC chassis.[16]

The early Edinburgh type buses required a driver and conductor to operate, but on lesser used routes, one-man-operation was also employed - for a 10 percent increase in wages the rear door would be closed and the driver would collect fares on boarding via the front.[17]

The early AEC and Leyland buses were reportedly up to the challenging task of route service in Edinburgh, which, due to its hilly terrain, was hard on engines, gears and brakes. To save on clutches, the AECs came with ratchet sprags fitted to the rear wheels (initially wire controlled, later modified to rod-control), with drivers instructed to deploy them at the bottom of hills.[18]

Because the charabanc motor coaches were not in use in the winter months, some would be re-fitted with single-deck bus bodies and put into route service, while some of the remaining charabancs would be used in route service in case of extreme need. During the tram electrification programme, some were refitted with truck bodies to assist the works.[19]

The first double-decker buses (open top, rear staircase layout) arrived in 1922.[20]

Although growing in size both before and after, for the period of May 1925 to May 1926 the fleet size was static at a total of 88 buses buses in regular use, as follows:[21][22]

  • 71 single-deckers of the 31-seat Edinburgh body type (41 Leylands, 40 AECs)
  • 2 double-deckers (54 seaters)
  • 15 charabancs (nine 27-seaters, six 32-seaters)

During 1924 nearly half the fleet were converted to use pneumatic tyres (Dunlop & Michlelin) instead of the earlier solid rubber or later Supercushion designs; by 1925 the Corporation had already determined based on both direct (price, life) and indirect (vibration damage, fule consumption) cost comparisons, as well as the increased passenger comfort, to use them on the entire fleet.[23][24] The issue of vibration was particularly serious in Edinburgh to the prevalence of granite paved streets.[25] Conversion presented difficulty on the rear twin tyres on the AEC Model 507 double-deckers due to the maximum legal width (7' 6), but this was overcome with in-house modifications.[26]

In 1926 the Corporation had four 52 seat double-deckers on order from AEC.[27]

To further solve the problem of lost time loading/unloading, by 1927 the corporation was stipulating two door bus bodies with wider doors, allowing simultaneous boarding and alighting - in through the rear (being at least 32' wide), and out through the front (28').[28]

The presence of low bridges on almost all of the city routes implemented by 1927 prevented the use of double-deckers, and so attention turned to 6-wheeled single-deckers to meet the needs for extra capacity in rush hour. An batch of six such vehicles were bought from Karrier Motors, bodied by Hall, Lewis and Co. Designated the Type WL6/1, the chassis was the mandated maximum 30' length, but specially built with a longer 19' wheelbase to meet the requirement for comfortably seating 39. A 61-80hp six-cylinder engine powered single tyres on both rear axle, with air pressure braking applying on all four driving wheels. These were half-cab buses, with the driver sitting in his own compartment to the front, beside the engine. The two doors were automatically controlled by the driver. A smoking area was still in use - achieved by a division in the body, with 17 smokers sitting in the rear section. The interior featured bucket seats, upholstered in green leather, with generous leg room.[29][30] Comparative trials of the six-wheelers with the shorter single-deckers on the East Road had shown that, based on a working life of 8 years, the increased revenues generated by the larger buses offset the increased capital, licensing and petrol costs. This led to eight more being ordered.[31]

Having recognised the advantages of operating modern buses, by 1928 the Corporation was already practicing the art of fleet replacement - with new deliveries displacing older buses which would then be disposed of.[32]

By May 1930 the fleet totalled 130 buses and coaches, the most recent arrivals being 14 AEC Reliance 95hp 32 seater single decker buses of the "most modern" design. Dual-doored, the front was Simplex pneumatically controlled. The interior featured oak panelling throughout, Induroleum floor covering, chrome fittings, a Holt patent heater, and the bucket type leather upholstered seats. There was still a rear smoker's compartment, now just seating 10.[33]

In 1932, the Corporation began trials to determine the fuel efficiency gains in using tar-oil mixed with petrol as a fuel, on petrol engined buses. This involved modifying a number of Leyland and AECs to use the Solex bi-fuel system, while a bespoke method was used on Daimlers.[34]

By May 1934, Daimlers made up nearly half the fleet, which now totalled 152 buses and coaches.[35]

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. 95 years of continuous Leyland operation with Lothian and its predecessors ended on 14 March 2009 with the withdrawal of the last Leyland Olympians.

Subsequently, low floor double-deckers have been specified. Initially the Dennis Trident 2 was favoured, with 197 being purchased between 1999 and 2004, mostly with Plaxton President bodywork (including four built new as open-toppers), although the first five have Alexander ALX400 bodies. Six Volvo B7TL with Plaxton President bodies were purchased for comparison in 2000, along with a similar bus which had started life as a manufacturer's demonstrator, and between 2005 and 2007 a further 125 B7TLs were delivered with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodies. A Scania OmniDekka demonstrator was delivered in 2004 for long term evaluation, and although it was subsequently returned to the manufacturer it did lead to the purchase of 15 Scania OmniCity in 2006-07. Since 2007 the Volvo B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork has been the standard double decker.

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. No more large single-deckers were purchased until 1975, when twelve more Y-type Leopards (to a more conventional specification) were purchased, and ten 1974 Bedford YRTs with similar bodies to coach specification were downgraded to service buses 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 Leyland Nationals were purchased for use on tendered services. With the move to low-floor buses, 91 Dennis/Plaxton Super Pointer Dart were purchased in 2000-2003, followed by 70 Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban in 2004-2009. As a result of these purchases, 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-236 were acquired in 1973. These were replaced by 18 Leyland Cubs with Duple Dominant Bus bodies 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 six 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). With the exception of those bought for the Airlink service, all new double-deckers bought in this period had dual-doors, as did the Leyland National and Lynx saloons. 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.[36] There is an ongoing programme of converting earlier low-floor dual-door vehicles to single door.

Until recently, Lothian and its predecessors operated a small coach fleet. Until 1976 most coaches were lightweight types (mainly Bedfords), but subsequently 10 Leyland Leopard, 14 Leyland Tiger and 7 Dennis Javelin were purchased up to 1999. An oddity (in that it was an import in what was at the time a 100% British fleet) was a Toyota Coaster minicoach, new in 1993. The coach operation was closed down in order to concentrate on stage services and the open top sightseeing tours.

Depots and engineering[edit]

In the early years of motor buses in the 1920s, where per batch quality could be unpredictable and sustained operation required highly involved running adjustments, the combination of the high quality of AEC as the manufacturer and the professionalism of the Corporation's garage staff produced in-service mileage figures and engine life that Commercial Motor praised as "exceptionally good".[37] Measures to produce such figures included mandatory defect reporting by drivers at the end of each shift, a preventative maintenance regime which called for inspection/repairs every 10 days (with the spare parts inventory including complete engines) with close monitoring of parts usage, and an overhaul/repaint cycle of every 18 months.[38]

In order to improve the system, the Corporation was performing its own modifications to buses as early as 1921, experimenting with a new type of rear shock absorber using rubber pads on one of its Leylands, and widening the doors of buses during overhaul.[39]

In 1922, buses were being garages in Shrubhill, which had capacity for 53 vehicles, and Henderson Row, which held up to 45.[40] In 1926, the bus fleet moved into Central Depot on Annandale Street, a former Industrial Exhibition hall.[41] Hoping for economies of scale, all of the Corporation's road transport fleet (e.g. fire tenders and waste collection vehicles) were to be garaged in this depot.[42]

By 1927, Edinburgh's department manager was having "no difficulties" in using motor buses, and indeed sought to disseminate the knowledge and experience built up in Edinburgh to other municipals, which had all brought savings in time, cost and material in his view. He cited specific examples: the introduction of a bus wash apparatus featuring all-round high pressure jets (washing up to 20 buses an hour), a bespoke moveable prone platform for mechanics working underneath buses, the use of a Sturtevant vacuum cleaner/blower for servicing interiors and vehicle drying, and the use of the Equipment and Engineering Co. (London) portable Whipple engine starter (which clamped to the starting handle), allowing cold buses to be started in seconds (as opposed to laborious manual cranking, or sometimes even lorry assisted jump starts).[43] An noted example in 1932 was of an in house developed portable bus electrics testing apparatus.[44]

An unusual example of in house innovation was the establishment in the 1940s of a soap making plant inside the Laundry at Shrubhill Depot, in response to the need for a saop which didn't damage vehicle paintwork.[45]

Taxibus[edit]

Lothian Buses previously operated a taxibus service from Edinburgh Airport.[46] 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.[47] In September 2007 it was investigated by the Traffic Commissioner for selling illegal fares.[48] Despite this it was extended to serve Leith, Ocean Terminal and Cameron Toll from October 2007. The vehicles used were Ford Transits. However, in February 2009 it was announced that the operation was up for sale as it had been operating at a loss despite carrying over 88,000 passenger in 2008.[49] A buyer was not found and the operation was closed down in April 2009.[50]

Main fleet liveries & route branding[edit]

A now-withdrawn Leyland Olympian in traditional madder and white livery in 2006

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.

In the 1920s the livery, as seen on the Hall bodied Karrier Type WL6/1 six-wheelers on delivery, was maroon, with a cream band under the windows, with white window surrounds and a black roof. The fleetname was 'Corporation Motors', applied on the cream band.[51]

Some coach-seated Leyland Olympian / Alexander RH-types and Volvo Olympian / Alexander Royales had been painted in the same scheme, but with red in place of the madder. These vehicles are not branded for, but were typically found only on, routes 15/15A.

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 making the buses easier to be spotted throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians.

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 and also benefits from being more durable than the madder paint through the life of the bus. the harlequin livery was 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 and when these vehicles were withdrawn in 2009 this livery left the Lothian fleet also.

However it was announced in March 2010 that the traditional Madder Rose and White Livery was to be reintroduced across the 600 strong fleet.[52] The vehicles will be repainted as part of their ongoing maintenance, so the old "harlequin" livery will continue to be a common sight on Edinburgh's streets.

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 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.

Previously, services 22 and 30 were branded but with the 22 converted to double-deck operation on 18 January 2009, this service lost the branding. The 30 also lost its branding, as the Dennis Darts used on it were replaced by cascaded Volvo B7RLE's from the 22 service.

General passenger services[edit]

The first regular post-war bus service (29 December 1919) ran between Ardmillan Terrace and Abbeyhill via Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile and the Castle, to supplement the trams.[53][54] It was extended to Easter Road in March.[55]

By the end of 1919 the Corporation was applying for parliamentary powers to run motor buses 5 to 10 miles beyond the city boundaries.[56]

Fares for ordinary services were charged on a graduated scale based on distance - the higher the fare (charged by the penny, 1d, 2d, etc), the further the distance. As of early 1922, 1d bought 1,033 yards, while 5d bought 4 miles 1,170 yards.[57]

Special services in the early 1920s included football specials (requiring as many as 30 extra buses) and late night services to venues like the Marine Gardens ballroom, with the entrance fee included in the ticket.[58]

By 1926 there were 12 different regular bus routes, with a total mileage of 43, and working to Bath Street, Blackford, Bonnington, Cameron Toll, Colinton, Cramond, Easter Road, Juniper Green, Hillend, Lochend, New Craighall, Portobello and Surgeon's Hall. The average number of passengers per mile was just under 9, with the average fare at around 1.6d.[59]

Good loadings on an experimental night service run from October 1925 to April 1926 saw the Corporation make plans to introduce regular winter night services.[60]

The success of the early bus routes was attributed by Commercial Motor magazine to the decline of the "walking habit", with the 1928 accounts showing two-thirds of journeys were for the lowest fare (1d), which on average would not allow you to travel more than a mile under the fare stage system in use at the time.[61]

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. Withdrawal 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.[62]

Tour services[edit]

Edinburgh Corporation deployed three of its 1919 bought Leyland charabancs on seasonal tourist work for tours of Holyrood Park, which traditionally began around April.[63][64] These were such a success that the following season, nine were deployed on various tour routes across the city and suburbs. Lasting around 40 minutes, each tour cost a shilling.[65] As of 1921 it was believed to be the only municipal tram operator running such services.[66] By 1925, there were 14 charabancs working five tours, with prices ranging from 2s for 18 miles, to 1s for 10 miles.[67]

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 after a short period.[68] An Edinburgh Classic Tour was set up in 1989 using open top Atlanteans, and later Olympians, which competed with Guide Friday. This was as a result of Guide Friday introducing competition on the city centre to Airport route. The buses wore a blue and white livery, each carrying a name e.g.Scottish Star, Lothian Star and Highland Star.[69][70] Lothian also operated open top tours in Oxford (in conjunction with local operator Tappins) and Cambridge 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,[71] in a tartan scheme with City Sightseeing fleetnames.[72] The Classic tour was completely transformed into the City Sightseeing red scheme by May 2001.[73] 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.[74]

Other services[edit]

As early as 1921, the municipal buses were also available for private hire, with a fixed tariff available to carry anyone anywhere within the city boundary, "day or night".[75]

In the early years buses also carried parcels, in conjunction with the trams and a network of collection/delivery boys, with the head office acting as a sorting office.[76]

Relation with trams & roads[edit]

In December 1916 the Corporation published a report they commissioned from various tram experts. Having only been tasked to report on the future of the cable-trams regarding alternate traction methods and potential for expansion, it also sought to comment on the potential of the motor bus to substitute trams. It concluded that the introduction of motor buses instead of tramcars would incur a total loss of £39,425 per annum, and that the bus only had a future serving thinly populated districts, or acting as a feeder for trams. The report was heavily criticised by Commercial Motor magazine as being wholly one-sided, with fallacious assumptions, seeming to them a deliberate attempt to discredit buses. It recommended the council procure independent advice from people with experience running motor buses at the necessary scale.[77][78] In contrast to the negativity of the tram experts, bus operator the Scottish Motor Traction Company Ltd was reportedly in rude financial health, being able to both "pay the petrol tax and to make profits in Edinburgh and district." in the same year.[79]

By the end of 1920 the corporation was considering the replacement of northern cable tram routes with buses.[80] By early 1922 buses had replaced a quarter of the cable-tram network (approx. 6.2 miles).[81]

Effect of motor bus tyres (which at that time were solid rubber) on the road surface was an early issue. Reimbursement for repairing the damage to the roads in Holyrood Park by the tour charabancs was laid down as a condition of operating there in the 1921 season.[82] In 1921 the city deputy surveyor found that no undue damage was being done by buses on tarmacced roads, with some not damaged at all, but water-bound macadam surfaces and sett paving without concrete underlay were vulnerable to rutting and other issues.[83]

On one hilly route, after residents complained of vibration caused by the buses, various remedies were deployed - limiting the speed to 8 mph, descent in gear, and the fitting of super-cushion tyres (Dunlop and North British).[84] The 8 mph limit was also necessary in granite paved sections of running, which were extensive in Edinbugh.[85]

By May 1921 the department manager was already crediting the buses' contribution to the city's transport system, which at that time also comprise cable and electric trams, for preventing rate relief being necessary.[86]

By the summer of 1921, the number of buses and coaches using The Mound as an interchange was causing concern for the City Magistrates.[87]

This record of the early introduction of buses was hailed by Commercial Motor magazine in the mid 1920s as a sign of the Edinburgh authority's foresight in recognising "the part which the motorbus was destined ultimately to play in the solution of the passenger transport problems of the age", contrasting it with Glasgow Corporation which, despite having double the population, had only begun bus services in December 1924.[88]

Electrification of the tram network was completed in 1923.

In the period of 1920-5, the experience of running buses at high frequency (every 3 mins) on busy city routes to temporarily replace cable trams exposed the early designs weaknesses - the vibration issues (particularly bad due to Edinburgh's paved streets), the low capacity and narrow doors in comparison to trams, and the fact that, despite their speed advantage between stops, longer load/unload times often meant they were slower overall. In some cases, the buses were so unpopular they were removed and replaced with electric trams. On the other hand, they were showing their usefulness in other areas. Because of this, by 1925 the department's manager was of the opinion that trams should still be used for the heaviest and busiest loadings, but never for new routes requiring less than 6 per hour, while buses would still remain employed on routes either complementing or connecting existing tram lines, or on routes that were unsuitable or uneconomic for trams. He nonetheless advocated for the bus as a necessary part of new housing developments such as Lochend, where revenue growth over time was evident, and considered the vibration issue solved since the introduction of pneumatic tyres. He concluded that as both modes are so inter-dependent, they "should be considered as a single transport organization for the city."[89][90]

In the 1920s, the average speed of the bus fleet approached, and then surpassed, that of the tram cars. The change occurred some time in the window of the 1927/8 financial year - in the space of this period the average speed of the buses went from 8.25 mph to 9.5 mph, in contrast to the trams, which went from 8.5 mph to 8.76 mph.[91]

Speaking at the 1927 Tramways and Light Railways Association conference, the department manager opined that, in light of the continuing fall in the price of petrol, and the prospect of both single and double-decker bus designs soon reaching the capacity of trams (thanks to longer, six-wheel chassis), that the omnibus represented "a very serious menace to the tramcar in the future."[92]

In 1928, the Corporation introduced measures to ensure bus operators couldn't undercut trams, by insisting one-way fares on routes duplicating trams must be at least 1d higher, and that other forms of ticketing must not be cheaper than equivalent tram travel.[93]

Tramway abandonment took place between 1950 and 1956.

Finances[edit]

The first route (1919) initially generated and average revenue of £35 a day. This had risen to £150 on this one route by 1921, thanks to increasing the frequency and length. This particular route could even reach £260 on Saturdays due to football crowds, passing as it did the grounds of the city's two top clubs, Hearts and Hibs.[94]

Working on a financial year ending in May, the corporation bus fleet recorded net profits from 1921 to 1923, with a high of over £21.1k in 1922 being followed by a low of £8.5k in 1923.[95]

On factor affecting Edinburgh's finances is the above average fuel consumption of the fleet due to the hilly terrain.[96]

Having nearly reached 20m in 1923/4, the number of bus passengers carried in 1924/5 dropped back to 15.5m after The Mound and Hanover Street route was converted from bus operation to electric trams. By May 1925, the Corporation had 88 buses in regular use. Despite the size, and after a total capital expenditure of nearly £200,000 on buses and garages (of which around three-quarters had already been paid off), they now returned an annual loss of £8,174 on revenues of £109,400, although the loss included the cost of converting half the fleet to pneumatic tyres (without which, the loss would have been £1,357).[97]

By 1926 passenger numbers had increased to 17.2m, bringing the bus fleet back into profit, albeit just £1,933.[98]

A challenge presented itself in 1935 with the combination of rising fuel price rises and oil duty increases meaning the Corporation would add an extra £9,500 a year in costs.[99]

Competition[edit]

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.[100][101] This claim was later rejected.[102]

Other operators such as Stagecoach Fife, E&M Horsburgh, Perryman's Buses and MacEwans also operate stage services into Edinburgh, but as these tend to be long-distance routes or subsidised local services they are not generally a competitive threat.

Industrial relations[edit]

In 2005 the drivers of Lothian Buses plc staged official and wildcat strikes over pay.[103] In some cases this resulted in passengers being abandoned as buses were taken out of service by drivers.[104]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lothian Buses". United Kingdom: Amizines. Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Companies House
  3. ^ Gavin Booth, Edinburgh's Trams & Buses, 1988, page 64, ISBN 0-946265-09-7
  4. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  5. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  6. ^ G. Booth, ibid, page 64
  7. ^ G. Booth, ibid, page 64
  8. ^ BBC News - Transport for Edinburgh: New body to oversee trams and buses
  9. ^ http://lothianbuses.com/about-us/our-heritage/timeline Timeline Lothian Buses.com
  10. ^ A Scottish Development, Commercial Motor, 3 February 1920, page 7
  11. ^ The Darlington Royal Show, Commercial Motor, 22 June 1920, page 23
  12. ^ Further Models for Olympia, Commercial Motor, 5 October 1920, page 10
  13. ^ Progress In Passenger Travel, Commercial Motor, 9 August 1921, page 16
  14. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  15. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  16. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  17. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  18. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  19. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  20. ^ Lothian Buses Timeline
  21. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities Commercial Motor, 4 August 1925, page 10
  22. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  23. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities Commercial Motor, 4 August 1925, page 10
  24. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  25. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  26. ^ Edinburgh and its bus services, Commercial Motor, 24 May 1927, page 86
  27. ^ Recent AEC Orders, Commercial Motor, 30 March 1926, page 6
  28. ^ Edinburgh and its bus services, Commercial Motor, 24 May 1927, page 86
  29. ^ Edinburgh and its bus services, Commercial Motor, 24 May 1927, page 86
  30. ^ Six-wheeled buses for municipal use, Commercial Motor, 23 August 1927, page 58
  31. ^ More Buses for Important Scottish Municipalities, Commercial Motor, 1 November 1927, page 45
  32. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities, Commercial Motor, 7 August 1928, page 53
  33. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 30 July 1929, page 59
  34. ^ Tar-oil Experiments In Edinburgh, Commercial Motor, 6 January 1933, page 45
  35. ^ Operating Aspects Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 27 July 1934, page 58
  36. ^ Scotsman.com News - Bus chiefs slam the door on fraudsters and fare dodgers from Edinburgh Evening News 22 June 2005
  37. ^ Remarkable Motorbus Performances, Commercial Motor, 30 October 1923, page 30
  38. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  39. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  40. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  41. ^ Lothian Buses Timeline
  42. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  43. ^ Edinburgh and its bus services, Commercial Motor, 24 May 1927, page 86
  44. ^ Wheels of Industry, Commercial Motor, 26 April 1932, page 48
  45. ^ Edinburgh Transport Has Its Own Laundry, Commercial Motor, 6 September 1940, page 41
  46. ^ "Edinburgh Shuttle". Lothian Buses. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  47. ^ Edinburgh airport shuttle to be launched - airport parking news
  48. ^ Shuttle faces probe into "illegal fares" - Edinburgh Evening News 13 September 2007
  49. ^ Millar, Alan (April 2009). "Buyer sought for Edinburgh Shuttle minibus operation". Buses (649): 11. 
  50. ^ Holyrood Magazine - Increased Demand
  51. ^ Six-wheeled buses for municipal use, Commercial Motor, 23 August 1927, page 58
  52. ^ Lothian Buses introduces traditional look for new livery | TXNews | Transport News
  53. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  54. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  55. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  56. ^ The Wheels of Industry Commercial Motor, 11 November 1919, page 4
  57. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  58. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  59. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  60. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  61. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities, Commercial Motor, 7 August 1928, page 53
  62. ^ Bus travellers' fury over fares increase
  63. ^ http://lothianbuses.com/about-us/our-heritage/timeline Timeline Lothian Buses.com
  64. ^ Commercial Motor, 6 April 1920, page 8
  65. ^ Commercial Motor, 6 April 1920, page 8
  66. ^ Progress In Passenger Travel, Commercial Motor, 9 August 1921, page 16
  67. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  68. ^ Fotopic image of the Lothian white livery on an Atlantean
  69. ^ Fotopic collection of the Edinburgh Classic Tour fleet
  70. ^ Fotopic collection of the Edinburgh Classic Tour fleet
  71. ^ City Sightseeing news page
  72. ^ Fotopic image of a Tartan liveried low floor City Sightseeing tour bus
  73. ^ City Sightseeing news page
  74. ^ Fotopic image of the Edinburgh Castle bus
  75. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  76. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  77. ^ Motorbus or Tramcar? Commercial Motor, 14 December 1916, page 1
  78. ^ Edinburgh's Future Passenger Service Commercial Motor, 14 December 1916, page 5
  79. ^ The Wheels of Industry Commercial Motor, 4 January 1917, page 7
  80. ^ Commercial Motor, 14 December 1920, page 4
  81. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  82. ^ Progress In Passenger Travel, Commercial Motor, 9 August 1921, page 16
  83. ^ The Wheels of Industry Commercial Motor, 9 August 1921, page 4
  84. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  85. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  86. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  87. ^ Progress In Passenger Travel, Commercial Motor, 9 August 1921, page 16
  88. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  89. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities Commercial Motor, 4 August 1925, page 10
  90. ^ Edinburgh's Experience With Buses Commercial Motor, 10 February 1925, page 10
  91. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities, Commercial Motor, 7 August 1928, page 53
  92. ^ The Success of the Motor Omnibus, Commercial Motor, 2 August 1927, page 65
  93. ^ Wheels of Industry, Commercial Motor, 12 June 1928, page 42
  94. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  95. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  96. ^ A Triple System Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 14 February 1922, page 16
  97. ^ Bus Results in Scottish Cities Commercial Motor, 4 August 1925, page 10
  98. ^ Bus Results in the Scottish Capital, Commercial Motor, 3 August 1926, page 14
  99. ^ Operating Aspects Of Passenger Transport, Commercial Motor, 27 July 1934, page 58
  100. ^ Bus wars to be investigated
  101. ^ Bus firm hits back over 'fares war'
  102. ^ OFT judgement
  103. ^ Bus drivers accept pay offer
  104. ^ New talks bid after drivers' wildcat strike

External links[edit]