BUS drivers have hit out after claiming they have been “banned” from wearing Christmas jumpers behind the wheel.
Previous years have seen Lothian Buses drivers spreading a little festive cheer by jazzing up their uniforms with Santa hats and jumpers from December 1.
However, staff who arrived in their winter woollies last week were apparently told to take them off because of a policy change.
Lothian Bus chiefs insist it’s all a “misunderstanding” and the change is part of a new week-long approach to their festive fundraising, which will see drivers permitted to dress up from December 19.
But drivers have already reacted furiously and a Facebook campaign urging a rethink has been set up.
One driver, who did not want to be named, told the News a colleague arrived at work in an elf jumper on December 1 only to be told it was not allowed.
He said: “I’m absolutely gutted. Everybody’s gutted.
“The morale at the garage since we have been told has hit an all-time low. I think it’s shocking. It’s not just for us to make ourselves look good it’s to bring people’s morale up and the kids’ morale.
“I think everybody should wear their jumpers from the first of December regardless, it’s not even a month. It’s just a bit of fun. I think the 19th is wrong – it’s too late and a lot of people are on holiday in that week so they aren’t going to get to wear their Christmas jumpers.”
The policy change would mean Edinburgh’s famous “bus Santa” – who has previously taken to the roads in a Santa suit to raise money for charity – will not be able to carry out his popular tradition until December 19.
He could not be contacted by the News yesterday.
Bus user Lisa Ferrier, 32, said she was “disgusted” by the move.
She told the News: “It just boosts the morale of the passengers.
“I’ve got kids and my son loves going on the bus, especially when he sees the driver dressed up as Santa with the beard and the funny hat.
“The responses they get every year for dressing up are amazing. The public love it.”
Lothian Buses said it was simply asking staff to wait to make the week-long fundraiser for Guide Dogs Scotland more successful. Staff are expected to wear standard uniform until December 19.
They added there had been a “misunderstanding” because an e-mail to staff detailing the “more formal” approach had not yet gone out.
A spokesman said: “We are doing something different from previous years. We are going to focus our efforts on one particular week in the run up to Christmas where all staff will be encouraged to wear something festive and make a donation to charity for Guide Dogs Scotland.
“The reason we are doing it in one particular week is so we can maximise the fundraising potential and raise as much money as we possibly can.
“Christmas spirit is very much alive and well in Lothian Buses.”