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'Key' Cards and Mobile Tickets Now Accepted on Big Lemon Buses
05/08/2015 21:52:28

It's here - a real mulit-operator ticketing system is now in use on Brighton & Hove's buses with The Big Lemon, Compass Bus and Brighton & Hove Buses now sharing the same system.  This enables passengers to use mobile tickets, 'key cards' and paper tickets interchangeably on all three companies' buses.


Until now, smartcard tickets, known as The Key, used on Brighton & Hove Bus Company services, could not be accepted by other firms. It meant anyone who needed to make a journey involving more than one company had to buy tickets from different sources.

From 3rd August 2015 the new multi operator ticketing scheme has been available on service 52 run by The Big Lemon and on all Compass Buses operating on the Brighton & Hove network.
They can be bought online at or at Brighton & Hove Buses’ North Street shop. M-Tickets bought and displayed on mobile phones via an app will also be accepted across the three companies. More information at

The move has been made possible by a £71,000 grant the council won from the Department for Transport, plus resources from Brighton & Hove Buses and their parent company Go Ahead.

The project has funded computing changes to integrate the services, plus installation of card-readers on buses run by Compass Travel and The Big Lemon.

The companies provide supported bus services, subsidised by the council, which would otherwise not be commercially viable. The three-year pilot scheme will cover Compass Travel services 37, 37B, 47 56, 57, 16 and 66, plus service 52 operated by The Big Lemon.

As well as winning the grant and facilitating the project, the city council is also contributing £27,000 towards set-up costs, with bus companies meeting the running costs.

Smartcards can be topped up online or at Brighton & Hove Buses’ North Street shop, providing tickets ranging from single journeys to one-year seasons.

If successful the council’s multi-operator scheme could be extended to all operators of bus services in the city.

Chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee Cllr Gill Mitchell said: “This makes cross-city bus travel much more practical. It could increase travel on routes which have to be subsidised and make them increasingly viable.

“This has been a very positive exercise, with the council assisting co-operation between our different bus companies for the benefit of the travelling public.”

Nick Hill, Head of Commercial Development, Brighton & Hove Buses, said: “We are delighted to have been able to help make this project a reality as it makes it even more attractive for people to use the bus in the city. It will make bus travel easier and cheaper for thousands of people using the council-supported routes in the city by giving them the same access to a smart card as everyone else in the city. This scheme is an example of great partnership work within Brighton and Hove.”

Chris Chatfield Managing Director, Compass Travel (Sussex) Limited said: “Compass Bus is pleased to be fully involved in this joint initiative for smart bus ticketing in Brighton. This will make local bus travel cheaper and easier and give seamless journey opportunities on one ticket.”

Neil Morgan, Director of Operations at The Big Lemon said: "This is something The Big Lemon has been very keen on for a long time as it will make passengers lives much simpler and easier, and also enable more passengers to benefit from cheaper fares. It's been wonderful working together with other bus operators and the city council to make this happen and we look forward to the day when all bus operators in the city are included."

Supported services mainly run to outlying areas east of the city as far as Saltdean and to Hangleton, Knoll and Portslade in the west. They cover routes or times that are socially important but not commercially viable.


New Vacancy for a PCV Engineer in Brighton
03/03/2015 12:58:46


The Big Lemon is an award-winning bus and coach operator based in Brighton. We operate two local public bus services using vehicles which we run on biodiesel from recycled cooking oil. Our current fleet is as follows, although this is subject to change:

- Two Volvo B10M 49/53 seat coaches
- Two Dennis Mini Pointer Darts, 29 seats
- Three Mercedes Midibuses, 25-29 seats
- One VW LT46 minibus 16 seats

This position is a full-time post of 37.5 hours per week working principally between the hours of 0730-1530 Monday to Friday although some flexibility will be required to meet the operational needs of the company.

Reporting to the Director of Operations, the post holder shall be responsible for the maintenance of The Big Lemon’s fleet of vehicles. The post has no line management responsibilities initially but this may change as the workshop expands. The post holder will need to work unsupervised and be able to meet operational deadlines. The post holder will need to be flexible, quick-thinking and able to adapt to fast-changing operational circumstances whilst maintaining the highest quality of work. Immediate start.


• £12 - £15 per hour depending on level of experience/whether you have your own tools.
• 28 days paid holiday per annum.
• The company will also be offering a workplace pension in the near future in accordance with current legislation.

Person Specification


- As a minimum 1 years apprenticeship experience and hold either a City and Guilds or NVQ level 2 or 3 accreditation. Exceptions can be time served experienced engineers with verifiable references.
- A full manual PCV licence attained not less than two years ago
- Good communication skills
- The ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines while maintaining a high standard of work and a friendly disposition
- The ability to work well in a team environment and work with management and drivers to provide the highest levels of service to our customers
- To be available out of hours for emergencies

Non-essential but desirable

- Own tools
- To be familiar with Microsoft Office programs and web browsers.
- Driver CPC certificate

Responsibilities & Tasks

1. Presentation for MOT & other statutory testing: to prepare and present all vehicles for annual MOT tests and any other statutory tests as required.
2. Preventative maintenance : to carry out routine inspections on all vehicles according to stipulated inspection frequencies and carry out fault diagnostics and repairs as necessary
3. Running repairs: to carry out repairs to vehicles as and when required to ensure roadworthiness of the fleet at all times and enable vehicles to be off the road for the absolute minimum amount of time.
4. Stocks & Spares: to maintain stocks of workshop consumables as required and order spare parts as necessary in accordance with company policies and procedures.
5. Breakdowns: to operate a rapid response service to all fleet vehicles in the event of a breakdown and arrange replacement and recovery of defective vehicles as required.
6. Driving: to be available for bus driving at short notice at any time within your hours of work in the event of sickness or absence of other members of staff.
7. Records: to keep full records in accordance with the company’s policies, procedures and statutory obligations and ensure these are available for inspection by company managers or VOSA inspectors at any time
8. Workshop: to keep the workshop clean and tidy and maintain it as a safe working environment
9. Health & Safety: to maintain awareness of relevant health & safety legislation, undertake risk assessment as necessary and ensure compliance with all relevant policies, procedures and legislation.
10. Training: to attend all relevant mandatory training including external courses required for the job role
11. To undertake all other reasonable tasks as directed by company managers.
There will be on-going training and personal development opportunities for the right candidate.

Applying for the role:

If you are interested in this position please email your CV with a covering letter for the attention of Neil Morgan, Director of Operations, to

Please outline clearly how closely you meet each aspect of the person specification, and identify relevant experience in all aspects of the job description.

If you’d like to discuss this role further please call 01273 681681 and ask for Neil Morganor or Tom Druitt.


Let's Talk Transport!
09/02/2015 19:28:16

Public Meetings in Woodingdean and Ovingdean

Please come to one of our public meetings to look at how we can improve service 52 and what other opportuinities there might be to improve public transport in Woodingdean and Ovingdean.  We have had a number of meetings already and they have helped us respond to the needs of the community.  As a result of working in partnership with the commmunity we have been able to revise the service to greater satisfy people's needs, extend the route back into Brighton and get agreement from other bus operators to accept each other's tickets.

Founder of The Big Lemon, Tom Druitt, said "We've really enjoyed running the 52 bus for the people of Ovingdean and Woodingdean and it has been a real pleasure to meet with them on a number of occasions to get feedback on the service and share ideas for how it can be improved.  I'm looking forward to meeting residents again to see what we can do to make services better in those villages".



Public Meetings

Woodingdean:  Downs Hotel, Monday 16 February 2015, 6.30pm

Ovingdean:  St Wulfran's Church, Tuesday 17 February 2015, 6.30pm

Meetings will most likely last about an hour. All welcome!

T: 01273 681 681     E: lemonbus@thebiglemon     F: "Friends of The Big Lemon"     T: @thebiglemon

The Big Lemon CIC is a Community Interest Company registered in England and Wales no. 6045786.
Registered Office: Protran House, Boundary Road, Brighton BN2 5TJ.

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