LOTHIAN Buses is set to take over the control of all municipal public transport in Edinburgh, as the SNP-Labour controlled local authority reforms its transport businesses.

The council has three transport arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs) – Transport for Edinburgh Limited, Lothian Buses Limited and Edinburgh Trams Limited.

Edinburgh Council owns 100% of Transport for Edinburgh, which in turn holds the council’s 91% shareholding in Lothian Buses and all of the shares of Edinburgh Trams (100%). East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian councils also hold minority shareholdings in Lothian Buses.

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Edinburgh Council’s working group has proposed reconstituting the Lothian Buses legal entity to allow it to manage council-owned public transport in the city, while retaining the brands and operational services of each of the transport companies. The proposal has not been universally approved within the three ALEOs, and the position of main union Unite has not been revealed.

The report states: “It is important to note that it has not been possible to achieve a consensus among the companies on this preferred approach. As a result, every effort has been made to address stated concerns in this report, and it will be important to ensure that concerns are, where possible, further taken on board.

The report will be considered by councillors on Thursday. Councillor Lesley Macinnes 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.

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"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.”

Councillor Karen Doran added: “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.”

Other transport companies will be consulted.