‘I have loved buses as long as I can remember’ - Edinburgh teen spends summer travelling all of Lothian Buses 50 routes
Schoolboy Ben Oliver has loved buses since he was a young boy and challenged himself to travel on every route in and around the Capital to learn more about them.
The 13-year-old’s fascination will buses started when his grandfather, who worked for Lothian Buses, took him along to work.
Delighted with his grandson's enthusiasm, the pair were soon touring different bus shows together.
Ben’s mum, Stacey Rennie, said her son knew the number and routes of all Lothian Buses before he could read.
“I have loved buses as long as I can remember,” said Ben. “My grandfather worked for Lothian Buses all his working days and took me to the 2012 doors open day as the central bus garage.
“I have been to every open day since as well as vintage bus days in Fife and George Street. When I was younger I used to collect bus leaflets and made myself a scrapbook of all the different buses and routes.
“My auntie made me a Lothian Buses uniform and I used to dress up to go to the open days when I was little.”
Ben has travelled all 50 routes
Keen to expand his knowledge of buses further, Ben used his summer holidays to travel on every bus route through the city, speaking to the bus drivers and learning more about the areas they travel to.
On Monday, September 20, Ben ticked off his last bus journey travelling on the 45 service, which runs from Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh to Leopold Place in Hillside.
Speaking to the Evening News about the best trips he has experienced, Ben said: “I liked the 48 as it takes me out of Edinburgh to areas I don’t really know that well so I was getting to see new places.
“I really enjoyed the 400 as it is a really essential bus for some people. And the number 16 had a really nice driver.”
Lothian Buses congratulated the teenager on Twitter
To celebrate the achievement Lothian Buses congratulated the delighted teenager on Twitter.
“I was really happy (with the attention) to begin with, I didn’t expect all the people who said well done,” said Ben.
“But then some of my mates started giving me a hard time about it and it got me quite down.
“Then I decided that I was just going to ignore it and enjoy it at it makes me happy.”
A spokesperson from Lothian Buses said: “Congratulations to Ben who can now say he’s been on every single Lothian route across our network.”
Ben now plans to explore other locations
Having now completed his challenge Ben plans to start exploring further afield on bus trips across the country.
He said: “I plan on doing Stagecoach buses that go to Fife, Borders Buses that go to Berwick and Galashiels and First Buses that go to Falkirk and Linlithgow.”
Ms Rennie said she was unsure of her son’s unusual hobby to start with, worried that he’d be teased, but has realised that it makes him happy which is all that matters.