A Guide to Edinburgh’s Buses and Trams

Using Edinburgh public transport to get around on buses and trams

Getting around Edinburgh on public transport is easy. Whilst most of the city is walkable, if you are looking to get out and about towards the outskirts – perhaps visit the beach or the zoo – then our busses and trams are invaluable. 

A Lothian Bus on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh bus and tram network is excellent. Whether you are arriving at the airport and need a bus to Edinburgh city centre, or are heading out to explore the city’s historical suburbs, there’s a tram or bus route for you.

Lothian Bus Services

Most busses in Edinburgh are run by Lothian Buses. They are the UK’s largest municipal bus company and are owned by the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Mid Lothian and West Lothian councils. There are two TravelHubs in the centre of Edinburgh you can visit if you have any questions or problems about routes. The newest TravelHub is at Shandwick Place in the West End, and another Waverley TravelHub at Waverley Bridge. There is also an East Coast Buses Travelshop in Musselburgh, should you find yourself out of town and looking for advice. 

Lothian Bus Routes

There are over 50 bus routes throughout the city. The easiest way to figure out which bus you need is to use a journey planner. Just type in where you are, where you need to go and when, and bingo! All your options will be shown. The one thing to keep in mind is if the bus is an express service , and you’ll know this if the bus number has an X at the end. Express services do not stop at every stop on the road, so make sure if you are getting on one it definitely will let you off where you want to go. 

Lights around Edinburgh's roads

Getting your Bus Tickets

Getting tickets is easy. The simplest method for one-off journeys is to pay by cash on the bus. A single journey is £1.70. Make sure you have the correct change! Pop your coins into the hopper at the front, ask the driver for a single ticket and one will be printed out for you to take. If you don’t have the correct money, you can still get a ticket, but you won’t get any change back. If you are going on more than 2 journeys, then it would be cheaper to buy a day ticket. These are £4, and can be bought on the bus too. You can also use contactless card payments now.

If you plan ahead, you can also pre-purchase tickets on the Lothian buses app, buy pre-loaded cards or scratch cards. 

Edinburgh Trams

Trams aren’t new to Edinburgh. They ran through the streets between 1871 and 1956. It wasn’t until 2014 that new trams were ready to take passengers again. The tram system is operated by the same group who run the busses, meaning all tram and bus information can be found on one convenient site. 

The Edinburgh tram line runs from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre. Ticketing is a bit different from the busses, as you have to buy your ticket before boarding the tram. There are ticket vending machines along the tram route, and they accept cards and cash. All tickets must be used to board within 30 minutes of purchase. If you board without a ticket, then it’ll cost you an on-board fare of £10. 

Great Public Transport in Edinburgh

The public transport in Edinburgh is reliable, and the drivers are very friendly! They are used to tourists, so don’t feel scared to ask them questions, or to give them a shout when it’s your stop. One thing we do tend to do in Edinburgh is say a cheery “thank you!” as we leave the bus. It’s nice to be nice!

Parliament House Hotel is near many main bus stop hubs, as well as only a short walk from the Waverley Bridge TravelHub. The tram line is also just a few minutes walk away. We’re perfectly situated to allow you to explore everything Edinburgh has to offer. Book your stay with us now and look forward to a fantastic time in Edinburgh.