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How to Use Public Transport in Edinburgh

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is very accessible by using public transport.

Many people ‘in the know’ – those who work in the city – choose to leave their cars at home to avoid traffic and looking for a parking space. If the locals are doing it, it must be worthwhile!

Edinburgh is served by an international airport, as well as bus and train services. In addition, a tram system is currently being installed. It will run through the city centre and is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

  • Edinburgh Airport

As international airports go, Edinburgh Airport is user-friendly. Be sure to allow yourself extra time to get through security clearance. The destinations that Edinburgh Airport serves can be viewed here. A popular new flight service is daily non-stop flights to and from JFK Airport in New York City.

  • Edinburgh Buses

First Edinburgh runs a bus service throughout East and Central Scotland, as well as within Edinburgh.

Lothian Buses runs services throughout Edinburgh with a range of tickets and day cards. A useful option for tourists is the day ticket which allows you unlimited travel throughout Edinburgh.

Some tips: Visit the websites above to familiarize yourself with routes before your trip. Route information is also posted at bus stops and shelters in Edinburgh. When using the bus service, carry plenty of change so that you can give the driver the exact fare. Seats at the front of the bus are reserved for disabled people.

  • Trains to Edinburgh

The railway in Edinburgh has changed a lot since the early days of The Flying Scotsman, the express passenger train service between Edinburgh and London. In 1862, the journey took over ten hours!

Today, National Express runs a service between Edinburgh Waverly and King’s Cross in London which takes around five hours. Scotrail also runs a sleeper service between Edinburgh and London.

Virgin Trains provides another rail service to Edinburgh. There is information on discounted fares to Edinburgh at

National Express, Virgin and Scotrail have services to destinations throughout the UK, so check out the websites for routes, as well as discount rail cards for senior citizens and students.

  • Edinburgh Taxis

Taxis in Edinburgh are reasonably priced. It costs around £15 to get a cab from the airport to Edinburgh’s city centre. To help visitors to distinguish taxis, only the distinctive black cab is allowed to be used as a taxi in Edinburgh. You can find a taxi rank at the airport, train station, shopping center or other public place. Of course, you can also hail a taxi from the street.

  • Not sure where to start?

Check out Travelinescotland for more information on public transport. This helpful website lets you work out the best train, bus or airline service to Edinburgh from any location in Scotland. It also tells you how much time the route will take and refers you to relevant public transport services. For travel in other parts of the UK, check out the main website, Traveline UK.

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer rachel

Originally from the United States, Rachel is a journalist based in Scotland who often contributes travel writing to publishers in the US and Canada.

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