Student travel: ticketing, journey planning and travel informationPlan for your return to campus with Lothian

Lothian City bus with Edinburgh Castle

With universities and colleges preparing to welcome students back on campus for the first semester of 2021-22, Lothian is here to help make your student experience as stress-free and comfortable as possible.

At the heart of the city, Lothian, Lothian Country and East Coast Buses operate more than 700 buses across more than 70 services with NightBuses providing a 24/7 service.

The pandemic has changed the way further and higher education institutions operate, so whether you’re returning to in-person studies or taking a blended approach to your learning, we’ve got you covered. Visit our Student Hub or scroll down for more information.

Free bus travel for those aged under 22, resident in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced that free bus travel is to be extended to all residents in Scotland under the age of 22 from 31 January 2022. For some students, this means they will be required to pay for travel for the first semester of 2021-22 only, and will be eligible for free travel after this date. More on this is available on the Scottish Government’s website.

With that in mind, Lothian has introduced a new 5-month Student Ridacard for £225, allowing eligible students to enjoy unlimited travel across our network (including NightBuses) until the free travel scheme takes effect. More information on our various ticketing options can be found below.

Ticketing options

No matter what student life looks like for you, we’ve got your travel sorted!

Free bus travel for residents in Scotland aged under 22 comes into effect on 31 January 2022. If you’ll fall into this category, pay for travel with our new 5-month (one semester) Student Ridacard or use TapTapCap to enjoy flexible travel without paying for more than you need to.

If you won’t qualify for free travel, you might be interested in our weekly, four-weekly, advance purchase or direct debit Student Ridacards.

Alternatively, with TapTapCap just tap the same card or mobile payment device for every journey across our entire network and we’ll automatically charge you the cheapest adult fare for the journeys you’ve made. You’ll never pay more than you need to, even if your plans change! All you need to do is tap, wait for the positive beep, and take a seat.

You can also purchase a range of Single and DAYTickets (including discounted bundles of DAYTickets) for use on Lothian Buses, EastCoastbuses, Airlink, Skylink, Lothian Country, or Edinburgh Tram services on our m-ticketing app. Download the app today to get started.

Journey Planning

Download our mobile app! All of our buses are tracked in real-time which means you get up-to-the-minute predictions of when they will arrive. You can save your favourite stops, routes and trips for regular travel – just tap on the ‘Saved’ tab to see them all.

The app will also let you know if there’s any disruptions to your service, and you can even share your journey progress with friends and family if you’re planning on getting together – it works even if they don’t have the app!


Late nights out with friends or working in the city until the wee hours? Most of our NightBus services run from around midnight until 4.30am every day.

Travel on NightBuses is included in the cost of our Ridacard products, and all services accept contactless payments – view fares and tickets here.

Buses to Easter Bush Campus

Travelling to Easter Bush Campus? If you can, please consider making small changes to your journey to free up space for friends or colleagues. Taking an earlier bus or using an alternative service will help increase capacity to get everyone on campus on time. For 9am arrivals, you can take the following services from the following areas:

Service 15: if travelling from Bruntsfield or Morningside.

Service 37: if travelling from Princes Street, Waverley Station or Newington.

Service 47B: if travelling from West End, Tollcross or the central area.

View our journey planner guide for travelling to Easter Bush Campus.

Safe travel guidance

All of our vehicles are cleaned externally and internally on a daily basis, and we have introduced heightened cleaning measures in response to the pandemic including more enhanced cleaning of the main customer touch-points such as hand poles and grab rails and our driver cab areas. Cleaning across all of our sites has also increased. We have issued detailed reminders to colleagues and provided additional cleaning materials where possible.

Please remember, by law you must wear a face covering on all public transport in Scotland for the duration of your journey unless you have an exemption.

If you are planning on making a journey on our services, we ask that you continue to help us keep our colleagues and customers safe by following the guidance set out on our Safe Travel page.