Edinburgh bus wars start again as Lothian boosts services to West Lothian

BUS wars are set to return after Lothian Buses announced new, improved and re-routed services in West Lothian, traditionally the territory of rivals First Group.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 06:00 am
Lothian launched new Lothiancountry routes in West Lothian in summer 2018, mirroring existing routes connecting West Lothian and the Capital.

The latest move comes after the head-to-head competition between the two companies in Edinburgh’s open-top city bus tour market over the summer.

From November 17 Lothian will expand, re-route and increase the frequency of its Lothiancountry X27/X28 services, creating new direct links to Edinburgh from Blackburn, Eliburn and Howden, as well as faster journeys from Whitburn to St John’s Hospital and new direct links from Whitburn to the Calders for Heriot Watt University, Napier University and Edinburgh College.

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Bus wars set to return to Edinburgh’s streets as First squares up to Lothian
Bus wars invaded the Royal Mile in July when First launched its own open-top, hop-on-hop-off bus tours of the key historic sites in direct competition with Lothian.

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There will be a new Sunday service on the X17 route, as well as later journeys Monday-Saturday between Edinburgh and Fauldhouse.

And service 287 will be re-routed to serve Livingston Village, offering direct links to St John’s Hospital, Livingston Centre and Bathgate.

Lothian commercial director Nigel Serafini said: “Following customer feedback and route analysis, we are delighted to introduce changes to our current network to better serve the local community of West Lothian.

“Following years of requests from a wide range of our customers and stakeholders, the introduction of a new X38 service will offer regular journeys from Linlithgow to Edinburgh, serving other key areas along the route, in particular giving residents in Kirkliston a long awaited Lothian operated service to and from the city centre.

Lothian’s latest move appeared to be endorsed by city transport convener Lesley Macinnes. She said: “Any measures that promote the use of public transport by increasing choice and frequency are to be welcomed.”

Lothian launched its new Lothiancountry routes in West Lothian in summer 2018.

Then in March 2019, First announced plans to retaliate by introducing some services in Edinburgh.

Lothian unveiled new express services between West Lothian and Edinburgh in May.

And in July First entered the open-top hop-on-hop-off tours market, under-cutting Lothian’s £16 fare with its £10 ticket.

First also stepped up the frequency of its 600 service from Livingston and Edinburgh Airport.