New Lothian Bus policy stops enthusiasts taking pictures on services

A COUNCIL-owned transport company has been accused of banning bus enthusiasts from taking pictures on its vehicles in a security crackdown.

Lothian Buses is said to have ordered drivers to stop taking requests to change their destination signs for photographers and stop people taking pictures of the interiors of the buses.

A staff notice which was said to have been issued by the company, which also runs East Coast Buses in East Lothian, in October has been widely shared on social media.

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The number 3 bus at Dalry/Haymarket

And it was subject to a Freedom of Information request by one irate fan who demanded to know why the company was concerned about pictures of the interiors when “there are CCTV recording devices” onboard the vehicles.

The staff notice which later appeared on Twitter advises drivers to ‘politely’ ask people not to take snaps onboard.

It also said “you should not allow requests to change destination screens for photographers”.

The notice, dated October 24, 2018 read: “It has come to our attention that some customers/bus enthusiasts are taking detailed interior pictures at terminal points which are then subsequently being shared on social media.”

“There are issues with this regarding the security of the bus as well as the recently introduced General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which mean we cannot encourage this type of behaviour.”

It continued: “Finally, under no circumstances should you allow anyone to occupy the cab of your vehicle. Remember you are responsbile for the safety of the vehicle at all times.”

The notice sparked an outcry when it was shared on social media with users questioning what pictures of the interior of the bus had to do with the new GDPR.

One member of the public put in a Freedom of Information request asking the bus company - jointly owned by City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian Councils - to explain the decision.

However Lothian Buses said it could not answer the request because it had “no recorded infromation that answers your questions”.

However they did add: “We welcome everyone who wishes to take photos of our vehicles to do so at the events we host across the year inlcuding roadshows and our annual Doors Opens Day.”

City of Edinburgh Council are the major shareholder of the firm, controlling a 91 per cent stake in the business.

Lothian were unable to be contacted for comment on the allegations.

The Evening News recently reported that a driver from the company had been sacked and ten others suspended after complaining about bosses at the firm on a closed Facebook group.

Employees at Lothian complained that the disciplinary action against the colleagues for the private social media posts was the latest example of a growing culture of bullying and harassment by management, leading some to call for a walk out in protest over the sanctions.