First West Lothian Service 23

Lothians home to biggest bus users thanks to locals’ environmental consciences

  • Strong environmental consciences see Lothians’ residents opt for the bus more than the rest of Scotland
  • Only 26% of people in the Lothians prefer to drive over taking public transport - the lowest among all Scottish regions

People in the Lothians choose to travel by bus far more than the rest of Scotland – and are much more likely to enjoy it.

Lothian locals enjoy taking the bus (33%), almost twice as much as the rest of Scotland (18%), with only one quarter (26%) preferring to drive over taking public transport – 8 pp less than the national average (34%).

The data, which provides a snapshot view of Scotland’s travel behaviours, was commissioned by First Bus as it launches a campaign to encourage Scots to be a little more ‘CarFree’.

28% of Lothians stated they don’t feel guilty for choosing their car over a bus compared to the national average of 37%. A strong environmental conscience was a key reason behind the decision to take bus in the Lothians, with half of them (51%) listing helping the environment as a primary motivator for travelling by bus.

The freedom of not having a car in the city (55%) and not having to find and pay for parking (67%) were among other key reasons for choosing the bus in the Lothians.

Home to the most frequent bus users in Scotland*, people from the Lothians were found to be the least likely to drive for journeys they know they could take bus for (6%) – almost half as likely as the national average (10%).

Duncan Cameron, Managing Director of First Bus in Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic to see how the Lothians are making a conscious effort to take bus for the good of the environment – and that they’re enjoying it too.

“As we launch our Modal Shift campaign to encourage Scots to leave their cars behind a little more, I’d encourage frequent car users to consider taking the bus instead for their next journey. From saving money to reducing stress and our impact on the environment, there are so many benefits to discover. If we each made small, conscious decisions to leave the car behind a little more, together we could transform our city’s congestion, air and noise pollution.”

The modal shift campaign supports First Bus Scotland’s efforts to provide environmentally conscious, cost-effective travel across Scotland. Through the campaign, First Bus is looking to encourage car users to tackle common pain points associated with car travel including pollution and excessive expenditure.

A TV advert featuring some well-known Scottish faces has launched across Scotland to support the campaign, in which characters join the ‘Car User Support Group’ group to discuss their guilty habits.

More information can be found at

*Over a quarter (28%) of people from the Lothians travel by bus more often than once a week – nearly twice as much as the national average (15%).


Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Survey

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th - 18th April 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of All Scotland Adults (aged 18+).

About First Bus

First Bus is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. Making journeys easier for our customers, we were the first national bus operator to accept contactless card payments across all of our services and our First Bus App is voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators. Our most recent investments are in new, state-of-the-art buses across our key networks.

We work proactively with our local authority partners, making a positive impact on air quality, tackling congestion and improving customer experience. We are focused on First Bus becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future and are committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035; we have pledged not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022. We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland.

First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.

First Bus is an equal opportunity employer

First Bus is an excellent place to work with opportunities for a rewarding career. 

We are committed to equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion. We believe diverse experiences and attitudes help us better understand the needs of our customers.

We are working to increase the number of females applying for bus driver roles within the business as we do believe businesses are more likely to have continued success if our bus companies reflect the communities that they serve.

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