Lothian Buses pays councils £3m; revenue tops £176m

Lothian Buses has announced it will return dividends of £3.2 million to its public sector owners — the first dividends since 2019 — thanks to a strong performance in 2023, when its revenue was £176.6 million.

Lothian Buses’ passenger numbers increased by more than 17% to 110 million in 2023.

Edinburgh Trams, the capital city’s other main form of public transport, said recently it transported roughly nine million passengers in the last year.

Lothian Buses is the UK’s largest municipal bus company and it is owned by the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Mid Lothian and West Lothian councils. It has over 2,500 staff, 1,700 of whom are drivers.

Lothian Buses Managing Director Sarah Boyd said: “Lothian continue to contribute significantly to the local and wider economy, creating new job opportunities and consistently investing in the newest technology and vehicles to deliver for our people and our customers.

“A considerable team effort delivered strong operational and commercial performance across 2023 enabling the business to return dividends of 3.2 million pounds to our local authority shareholders.

“Our annual accounts for last year demonstrate continued recovery and growth since the pandemic, despite significant operating challenge and wider economic pressures.”

Councillor Scott Arthur, City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Convener, said: “This demonstrates Lothian Buses’ ongoing, successful recovery from the pandemic, and the commitment all at the company have shown to get Edinburgh moving and our economy back on track.

“Receiving this dividend is a real turning point – I could not be prouder of them and all they do for Edinburgh.

“It’s amazing to have Scotland’s best bus service here in Edinburgh, and getting a dividend on top of that is incredible.

“Lothian’s resilience has seen passenger numbers grow significantly, providing reliable, sustainable public transport to millions each year, supporting our net zero 2030 goals.

“It’s thanks to this growth that they’ll be able to return dividends to the City of Edinburgh Council and the other minority shareholding councils, which will help us to improve transport in Edinburgh.

“In the coming year I will be doing all I can to ensure Edinburgh’s bus network remains attractive and reliable, and hope that helps underpin Lothian Buses’ continued success.”