Lothian Buses cite GDPR to stop bus fans

Thursday December 13th 2018

Lothian Buses GDPR notice

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

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.

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” onboard the vehicles.

The staff notice which 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.”

In the notice, which was dated October 24, it said:

“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 which mean we cannot encourage this type of behaviour.”

The notice finished “Finally under no circumstances should you allow anyone to occupy the cab of your vehicle. Remember you are responsible for the safety of the vehicle at all times.”

The notice sparked an outcry when it was shared on Twitter with people 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, which is owned jointly by Edinburgh City Council, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian Councils, and run by a board of directors, to explain the decision.

However Lothian Buses said it could not answer the questions because it had “no recorded information 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 including roadshows and our annual Doors Opens Day.

Lothian Buses operates East Coast Buses in East Lothian, and the local authority has a minority share in the company.The major shareholder is Edinburgh City Council which holds 91 per cent of the business.

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