LOTHIAN Buses - Edinburgh’s main operator - celebrated a 25-year passenger high today by announcing it had carried 115.4 million people last year.
The 4.2 per cent increase comprised an extra 4.6m passengers on 2012.
The city council-owned firm said there had been “strong growth” in season ticket sales, tourist bus tours, and improved night buses which almost doubled their passenger count.
The growth suggests the company has thrown behind past problems caused by city centre tram works disruption which hit passenger numbers.
It also mirrors growth in other public transport, with ScotRail expecting to carry 85m passengers this year - up one third on a decade ago.
Chief executive Ian Craig said: “We’ve been really pleased by the increased patronage of our buses over the course of the past year and these figures show the appetite for good quality public transport.
“It’s especially positive news as we prepare to offer residents, workers and visitors more choice and capacity through integrated bus and tram services.”
David Birrell, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “The obvious demand for public transport shown by these figures and the imminent arrival of trams gives encouragement that we’re on the right road.”
City council transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “Speaking as a regular passenger, I think Edinburgh is very fortunate to have such an excellent bus service.
“Judging by these figures, many other residents and visitors agree, and I’m delighted to see that.”
Night bus passengers increased by 44 per cent, while season ticket sales were up by 8.6 per cent.