Lothian Buses carry 2.5m people in Fringe week

The figure of 2.5 million passengers is the highest since 1998. Picture: Jane Barlow

The figure of 2.5 million passengers is the highest since 1998. Picture: Jane Barlow

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BUMPER Festival crowds have helped Lothian Buses smash records after picking up more than 2.5 million passengers in a single week.

Last week’s figure was the highest since 1998 as city residents and tourists flocked to board the fleet.

Numbers were up four per cent on last year’s busiest week, which has been attributed to the popularity of the Festival and decent weather.

Bosses at the bus operator – which has put on extra services during August – praised behind-the-scenes “heroes” for ensuring the vehicles were able to cope with demand.

Chief executive Ian Craig said: “Two-and-a-half million passengers in one week is a massive achievement for us and reflects the growing demand for our services as the city continues to thrive and develop.

“The weather, as well as the thousands of people who have descended on Edinburgh for the Festival, have all contributed to the growth in passenger numbers, but I’m most delighted with the way that our fleet and people have been up to the challenge of meeting this demand.

“Our operational and engineering staff are the real heroes during the city’s single busiest time. The standard of customer services provided by our staff is a testament to their professionalism, patience and continued good humour.”

The record-breaking figures come just five months after Lothian Buses raised the cost of adult single tickets by 10p to £1.50.

And there was controversy in June when the News revealed that Mr Craig had seen his pay soar by 26 per cent to £265,000 last year.

The pay packet contrasts with a two-year deal for drivers, giving them a rise of around two per cent, roughly in line with inflation.

City council transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “Lothian Buses are a true Edinburgh success story and regularly receive awards in recognition of that, but the best measure of success is passenger numbers.

“These latest figures are a fantastic endorsement from their customers, who are using the bus more and more.

“With Edinburgh’s new tram service fast approaching, Lothian Buses are ideally placed to thrive with the management of another fantastic option which will fully integrate into what they already offer.

“Lothian Buses will also play a crucial role in the development of Transport for Edinburgh, which will drive the future of public transport to the benefit of everyone who wants to get around the city.”