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Getting Around in Edinburgh
One of the best things about Edinburgh is that virtually everywhere can be reached on foot. However, on a bad weather day (of which there are many) or if you are pressed for time, there are numerous other ways of getting around the city.
The main bus company in Edinburgh is Lothian Buses. Their services are frequent and efficient and cover almost the entire city. Bus stops are found at regular intervals and the majority have bus trackers as well as timetables and route maps. The correct change is needed for a ticket, so it is best to have this ready to avoid holding up the line. Drivers are generally quite helpful, so ask if you are unsure where to get off. If you are planning a number of journeys on the same day, it is best to get a day saver ticket which gives you unlimited journeys before midnight. For night owls, night buses are also available for some routes, running more frequently at weekends.
Fares: Adult single £1.30, Child single (5-15) 70p, Adult daysaver £3.20, Child daysaver £2.00, Night ticket £3.00. (all fares as of November 2011)
The city has a reliable airport bus service that runs to and from the city centre. The Airlink 100 express bus can be caught on Waverley Bridge, near Princes Street around every 10 minutes. It is available 24 hours a day and takes roughly about 30 minutes either way. It is the most reliable and inexpensive way of getting to and from the airport. There is also the Lothian bus number 35 that starts its route at Ocean Terminal and goes to the airport via the Old Town, every 15 minutes. However, the journey time is considerably longer, taking around one hour (for fare prices, see above).
Fares: Airlink 100 - Adult single £3.50, Adult return £6.00, Child single £2.00, Child return £3.00.
For those who enjoy cycling, Edinburgh has a number of good routes. A lovely day out can be had following Edinburgh’s cycle paths, for example, the picturesque path along the Water of Leith to Stockbridge and Dean Village, or along the city’s canals. However, it is probably not a good idea to choose cycling as your main way of getting around as Edinburgh is a hilly city, full of cobbled streets and busy main roads, so alternative methods are recommended.
Taxis can be found in abundance throughout the city, with the most common being the traditional black cab. Taxi ranks are dotted around the city centre, but you should easily be able to hail a cab on the street. During busy weekend evenings and peak tourist times, some ranks have taxi queue marshals on hand to help people find a taxi, make sure no one queue jumps and hand out timetables. Drivers are friendly and you can expect some local banter on your journey.
Rickshaws are a fun way of getting from A to B during the festival an Christmas period. Your driver will slog his or her way up and down hills and cobbled lanes, while you relax in the back with a blanket and good view. However, be warned, these rides are often very expensive so may be wise to only choose this option for a very short journey and for the experience, rather than a practical method of transport. Rickshaws can be spotted all over the city centre, but you will most likely find them based on the Royal Mile.
Edinburgh used to have a widespread tram network linking the city centre to Leith and Portobello until the 1950s. In 2008 work commenced building a new tram network, hoping to provide the city with an environmentally friendly travel system and an alternative mode of transport to the airport. The new tram system is a somewhat controversial topic amongst locals, with some residents not happy about the amount of disruption and expense thus far. Completion is expected in 2014.