More integrated transport on the way for Edinburgh

There could be a revolution in integration for public transport around Edinburgh if recommendations for the reform of Edinburgh’s Transport Arm’s Length External Organisations (ALEOs) are accepted by the Council’s Transport and Environment Committee. It is said the changes would deliver a more efficient, better integrated public transport offering while retaining the identities of the much-loved transport companies.

The report which is being considered proposes reconstituting the Lothian Buses legal entity to allow the management of all Council-owned public transport modes in the city, while retaining the brands and operational services of each of the transport companies. This will include companies like Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams.

There would be no immediate changes for passengers or front-line staff but it would eventually lead to improvements through easier ticket purchasing, integrated routes and customer services plus better collaboration and less competition between companies along with efficiencies for the business.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “The reform of our Transport ALEOs offers the chance to significantly enhance and streamline our public transport offering to the benefit of the public. These changes would result in integrated ticketing and routing and the opportunity to expand into new transport modes, amongst other improvements. Of course, we know how important the Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams brands are to the people of Edinburgh, demonstrated by their consistently high customer satisfaction ratings, and we’ve no plans to change that. Any restructuring behind-the-scenes will only lead to a better experience when using the services we all know and love.”

ALEO reform aligns with Edinburgh’s City Mobility Plan which outlines greater integration in areas such as pricing, ticketing and routing along with the expansion of the rapid transit system and a bus network review.

Cllr Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “The last year and a half has been extremely challenging for our public transport providers. Our plans for their future aim to support their continued recovery, delivering efficiency savings which can be reinvested in the services. We really value the public transport staff who’ve made every effort during this time to serve the city too, and we would be working closely with boards, management and trade unions to support a smooth transition to a new structure.”

If the proposed Transport ALEO is approved, the Council would still maintain formal political oversight through the existing committee structure.

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