Travel around Scotland by bus and coach

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  • A Citylink bus drives past a stretch of water, with trees, hills and stormy clouds in the background
    Citylink bus service, passing the Corran Ferry, enroute to Fort William
  • A local bus no 37 driving along Princes Street with the Balmoral Hotel in the backdrop, Edinburgh
    Lothian Buses

All Scotland's major towns and cities are served by short and long-distance bus services. Long-distance buses are known in Britain as coaches and are a popular way to travel.

Coach operators

Most of the inter-city and longer-distance coach services around Scotland are provided by Scottish Citylink, Stagecoach, Megabus and National Express offering most of the inter-city and longer-distance coach services around Scotland, including a connecting service between the country’s two biggest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Tickets for these services can be bought in advance by phone, online, in stations and often on board.

For busy routes and travel at peak times, such as weekends or national holidays, it's a good idea to book as early as possible to guarantee a seat.

Make sure that you check the baggage allowance restrictions, as coaches often have limited space for larger items such as prams, charge for other extra baggage, and have rules on transporting items such as bicycles.

Scotland's towns and cities also offer a range of coach parking access throughout the year. For full details, visit the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK website.

Discount fare options

If you plan to do a lot of travelling by coach, it may be worth buying an Explorer Pass, which offers unlimited travel on Scottish Citylink network or the megarider tickets offered by Stagecoach, which provide unlimited travel within certain areas.

If you are planning to travel in England and Wales too, and are coming from outside of the UK, you might benefit from a National Express Brit Xplorer Pass, which gives you unlimited travel throughout Britain on National Express coaches.

Local services

Four main operators, First, Stagecoach and National Express, and a number of independent operators, run local bus services within Scotland between the main cities, towns and villages. City and town services are frequent, while in rural areas there is a reduced service, with more buses running around school times (approximately 8.30am and 3.30pm). 

For information on all services in and around Scotland's towns and cities, contact TravelineScotland on 0871 200 22 33 or visit the TravelineScotland website.

Postbus services

Some rural areas, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, are only served by the Postbus network, which sees numerous minibuses carrying mail taking between 3 and 10 fare-paying passengers.

The post buses set off early in the morning, usually around 8.00am from the main post office, and collect and deliver mail in the surrounding countryside. This is  a sociable way to travel; although it’s not the fastest mode of transport, it is a great way to get to hidden attractions and B&Bs in rural areas, if you don’t have a car.

Details of Postbus routes and timetables can be found on the Royal Mail website or from the Royal Mail Customer Service Centre on 08457 740 740. Textphone users should call on 0845 600 0606.

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