RELBUS, the group campaigning for better bus services in East Lothian, is pressing for bus services to be adapted so that they are more attractive to tourists. East Lothian has a fantastic tourist offering including castles, beaches, golf courses, historic towns and villages, grand country houses, a distillery, the Seabird Centre and Museum of Flight, and it all sits next door to Edinburgh which is one of the biggest tourist centres in the UK. But getting to and between our tourist attractions other than by car is not easy. RELBUS thinks that there is much scope for making it more easy and convenient for visitors to use public transport to reach what is on offer and wants to work with the council and bus operators to see what can be done.
Former councillor Barry Turner who chairs RELBUS said: ‘By drawing up the bus passenger charter for East Lothian we have shown what can be achieved by different organisations working together. We now think that a similar approach could lead to real improvements in transport for tourists, encouraging more visitors without cars to come here and getting many local trippers out of their cars. Look around the UK and overseas and you will find public transport geared up to meet tourist needs. We can do it here in East Lothian too. We just need to adapt and be more innovative when it comes to organising our bus services and we need information to be available and accessible so that visitors know what’s on offer’.
The kind of things that RELBUS has already identified as offering opportunities for improvement are better integration of local and longer distance bus services so that it is easy to change from bus to bus, better integration between bus and rail services, tourist day tickets to be available and a high profile presence in Edinburgh relating to East Lothian’s attractions and how to reach them by public transport. Better connections for tourists will also mean better connections for local people in rural East Lothian which remains the principal aim of RELBUS .