Edinburgh Festivals 2014: Your guide to getting around the city
- Niki Boyle
- 22 July 2014
This article is from 2014.
Visiting the Fringe this August? Get familiar with the capital's bus, tram and rickshaw options
Edinburgh isn’t just startlingly beautiful – it’s also pretty compact, and circumnavigable in a matter of hours. Edinburgh Castle is visible from most places, so use that as your landmark and get exploring.
Local transport company Lothian Buses operates a pretty comprehensive bus service with a flat-fare system: £1.50 will get you from A to B anywhere in the city, while £3.50 buys you unlimited travel for the whole day (Airlink buses are an exception: £4 for a single, £7 for an open return). Night Buses kick in around midnight, with a flat rate of £3, which lasts the whole night. Change is not available on board, but you can sign up for mobile ticketing or look into buying ticket saver deals at the Lothian Buses travel shops – see the Lothian Buses website for more details.
Lothian Buses also run the trams, so the fares are the same: £1.50 for a single journey, £3.50 for the whole day, with extra charges for links to the airport. Tickets must be bought in advance from vending machines at each tram stop, and ticket agents will be on board to make sure all tickets are valid. Again, the Lothian Buses website has more info on mobile ticketing apps.
Taxis in Edinburgh aren’t especially cost effective, but they are speedy, reliable and weatherproof. Black cabs can be hailed in the street or boarded at taxi ranks (which are plentiful in the city centre), while private minicabs have to be called in advance: try Central Taxis (0131 229 2468), City Cabs (0131 228 1211) or Festival City Cars (0131 552 1772). Stay safe: never get into an unbooked minicab and always make sure your driver’s ID card is visible.
If you’re confident on two wheels, Edinburgh can be very rewarding to see by bike: the cycle routes are reasonably well developed, and the plethora of steep hills, while challenging to climb, are a joy to race down (cobbles permitting). Hit up Bike Trax or Edinburgh Cycle Hire for hire rates, and watch your wheels around the tram tracks.
Sure, they’re pretty slow and ridiculously expensive, and not the most efficient way to get around this hilly city, but sometimes only a pedal-powered rickshaw will do. Remember to always agree a price before climbing in, and don’t pinch the riders’ bums – it’s rude.