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The Trossachs Explorer

National Park bus pilot launched to drive down emissions and congestion

Visitors and locals can enjoy popular destinations including Ben A’an and Ben Ledi without their cars this summer, with the launch of a pilot shuttle bus service.

In a bid to help reduce emissions, congestion and parking issues, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority is introducing the Trossachs Explorer.

The bus will run between Aberfoyle and Callander during the peak summer months and will stop at several popular visitor locations on the route, including Loch Katrine, Ben A’an and Ben Venue.

The seven day a week service has been planned to tie in with bus services from Stirling and Glasgow to allow visitors from those cities to make the full journey without a car.

The transport pilot is one of the key projects announced as part of the new National Park Partnership Plan which sets out a long-term vision for the National Park as ‘a thriving place that is nature positive and carbon negative’, through, in part more sustainable transport.

Of the millions of visitors to the National Park each year, 79% travel by car*. The dominance of car travel is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in the National Park and puts huge pressure on popular locations and their communities, with parking and congestion.

As well as reducing emissions and congestion from car travel to the Park, it is hoped that offering car-free travel options will make it easier for visitors and residents without access to a car to enjoy some of Scotland’s most scenic locations.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said:

“This is a great example of action for climate that also provides tangible benefits for people and businesses.

“Tackling the dominance of car travel in the National Park is hugely important for reducing emissions but it will also open up leisure, employment and education opportunities for more people, particularly young people and anyone who either doesn’t have access to a car or prefers not to travel by car.  And we know from businesses in the National Park how important it is to have public transport options for staff.

“If Scotland is to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030, we need an efficient, inclusive rural transport sector that meets the needs of both visitors and residents.

“This is a pilot project for just one area of the National Park, but it is a step in the right direction. We will use the learnings from this initiative to work with partners to develop longer-term more sustainable and active travel options in the National Park, as well as share what we’ve learned with other rural areas.”

This Trossachs Explorer pilot will run between Aberfoyle and Callander during the peak summer months (1st July – 30th September) and will stop at a number of popular visitor locations: The Lodge (Queen Elizabeth Forest Park), Ben Venue, Loch Katrine, Ben A’an, Brig o’ Turk and Kilmahog for access to Ben Ledi.

Buses will run seven days a week, with up to eight services a day. The service will allow visitors and residents unlimited daily travel in the Trossachs area of the National Park with a ‘day saver’ ticket for £5.95. Under 22s and over 60s can also travel for free in line with national policy.

The income generated from the pilot will be reinvested into future transport initiatives that support more sustainable travel.

The pilot is being operated by Midland Bluebird and supported with funding from BMW UK, as part of its Recharge in Nature partnership with UK National Parks. Funding was also received from Path’s for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund, on behalf of Scottish Government and Transport Scotland.

At Loch Katrine today – one of the popular locations now accessible without a car – young people and local businesses welcomed the news.

Cordelia Murray-Brown, National Park Authority Youth Committee member said, “As a teenager, the Trossachs Explorer will give me freedom to explore the area without relying upon my parents to drive me. For instance, I can get the Trossachs Explorer to Ben Venue and then walk back home to Kinlochard over the hill, this will make the journey much more interesting and manageable.

“I can also meet up with friends to see parts of the countryside I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The Explorer will further provide me with a route to meet up with my friends from school in Callander which would otherwise be a multi hour trip in terms of buses.”

James Fraser, Chief Executive of the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust said: “Loch Katrine is the birthplace of Scottish tourism and home to great outdoor adventures by bike, boat, and boot in the heart of the National Park but access for many years has been hampered by the lack of public bus services.

“We are therefore delighted the National Park Authority has taken the initiative to introduce this new pilot bus service to help major population centres in the central belt to access popular hills and outdoor attractions in the Trossachs in a more sustainable way. This is a much welcome boost to tourism in the Trossachs and I hope the new service will be well supported and is a great success.”

More information about The Trossachs Explorer, including timetable and route information, is available on the National Park Authority website at

*2019/20 National Park Visitor Survey

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