First restarts Edinburgh sightseeing tour
First Scotland East restarted its Bright Bus Tours open-top sightseeing operation in Edinburgh yesterday as Scottish lockdown conditions were eased.
It began the tour last year in competition with Lothian Buses’ Edinburgh Bus Tours in apparent retaliation after the council-owned company’s Lothian Country Buses intensified its competition against First in West Lothian. Edinburgh Bus Tours acquired additional vehicles last summer to compete against Bright Bus Tours. The tour bus war led to some congestion as the two operators’ double-deckers queued to reach the departure stands on Waverley Bridge in the city centre.
To promote social distancing, Waverley Bridge has been closed to most traffic, with suggestions that this arrangement might become permanent. Tours are instead departing from St Andrew Square, close to the city centre bus station.
Branded bright orange face masks were handed out to people who booked a tour with Bright Bus yesterday. Passengers are directed to their seats by staff, who are wearing personal protective equipment, to ensure that social distancing guidelines are met throughout the journey.
Each vehicle is deep cleaned at the end of each day, using the latest techniques available. This includes a “fogging” which kills all bacteria, including Covid-19, for up to 28 days.
Tour operations manager Tony Kenmuir says: “It has been a really positive step forward to see Bright Bus back and ready for action. As we move into the thick of the summer holidays, people – especially those with children – are looking for safe and fun outdoor activities to do and our tours provide a great day out. We’re expecting a significant rise in the number of UK domestic passengers this summer – and even a good few from Edinburgh – as more people are choosing to go on staycations and explore the great sights we have to see at home.
“Whilst our relaunch has a definite sense of Bright Bus style, our message is a serious one, designed to instil confidence in everyone looking to take a tour with us, that we have taken all measures to create a safe environment.”
Liz McAreavey, chief executive at Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, says: “As a key driver of the Edinburgh economy, we are delighted to see the hospitality and tourism sector working to safely re-open across the city as restrictions gradually ease. The re-launch of Bright Bus Tours, with a focus on safe sightseeing, will allow people to have a fun day out while enjoying the wonderful sights our city has to offer.”
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