Bus fare bonanza - ‘Profits go into improving the local services’

Actress Anne Hathaway on set in Edinburgh's Moray Place filming a new comady "One Day" with fellow actor Jim Sturgess.
Actress Anne Hathaway on set in Edinburgh's Moray Place filming a new comady "One Day" with fellow actor Jim Sturgess.
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no-one likes feeling as though they have been ripped off, no matter how small the amount of money involved.

So our story about Lothian Buses making an extra £620,000 profit out of passengers who can’t find the exact fare is bound get a lot of people’s backs up. That is a staggering £340 a day – isn’t it incredible how loose change can add up?

Brad Pitt in Cochrane Street Glasgow . On set of his new film World War Z.

Brad Pitt in Cochrane Street Glasgow . On set of his new film World War Z.

Most regular passengers, of course, will have a pre-paid Rida- cards or be well drilled in setting aside their £1.30 single fare.

But for those who aren’t – and are perhaps trying to juggle loose change, shopping bags and a couple of kids – it can be a frustrating experience.

And that must be particularly true for tourists trying to explore the Capital.

But what is the practical alternative?

Having bus drivers who dish out change, significantly slowing down the service and leaving the poor drivers more vulnerable to theft? Or the return of the “clippies”, which would mean employing extra staff and ultimately pushing up the cost for travellers?

Most passengers value the service provided by Lothian Buses, which is generally fast and efficient. Our guess is that the overwhelming majority are perfectly willing to sacrifice the odd 10p here or 20p there in order to ensure it stays that way.

The other reassuring fact is that all this surplus cash does not go into some rich man’s pockets. Lothian Buses profits go back into improving local services and – through special dividend payments – towards topping up the coffers at the cash-strapped city council.

Of course, you may well object to how the council decides to spend its share of the profits, but that is another story entirely . . .

Entente cordiale

Our international consulates are not just good for business – they also add a welcome dash of colour to life in the Capital.

And the French Consulate and Institute in Randolph Crescent is among the most colourful of all. From exhibiting nude portraits of Edinburgh-based French women to welcoming hundreds of pupils on school trips, it has been a cheerful champion of Gallic culture in Scotland for nearly 60 years now.

It is easy to understand why their imposing New Town base was vulnerable to President Sarkozy’s latest efficiency drive.

We must be glad that le President remains committed to the Auld Alliance and finding a new French home from home in the Capital.