News & Updates
We’ve recently become the first bus operator in the UK to develop their own ITSO certified smart ticketing technology. ITSO is the UK standard for interoperable smart ticketing allowing passengers to travel across modes and operators.
Scotland’s national entitlement scheme — which allows free bus travel to those under 22, over 60, and people with disabilities — is based on ITSO smart cards. This new solution allows us to securely validate cards and prevent fraudulent travel. We had outgrown our existing solution for concessionary travel, and no existing ITSO solutions on the market would integrate into our platform, so we developed our own ITSO card readers.
We’re undergoing some final testing of the new readers before rolling them out to our fleet this summer.
We wanted to let you know that we're increasing ticket prices by an average of 10% from 5 June 2023.
A ticket from Dundee to Edinburgh will cost £8.30 when bought online, up from £7.50. Dundee to Glasgow will cost £9.40, up from £8.50
This is the first change to fares since Ember launched in October 2020. Since then, the cost of running our service has increased significantly. In particular:
- Electricity prices have more than doubled. We've done our best to keep these down – for example, a lot of the electricity we use to charge our buses comes direct from wind turbines at our charging hub. However, we are still exposed to grid prices to an extent and these are expected to remain high for the foreseeable future.
- Driver pay has increased across the industry. We welcome this – drivers perform an important role with lots of responsibility so we want them to be paid fairly – but it does increase the cost of running a service.
We know that this change comes at a difficult time for many people but the updated prices will ensure we can run the service sustainably. It'll also allow us to keep investing in improvements, including higher frequency and more routes.
If you are a regular traveller looking to offset the increase, it’s worth taking a look at our credit bonus scheme. This is a flexible way to save 20% on fares when you buy credit in bulk – buy £100 of credit and we'll top it up to £125. Just go to your Ember account and click "Add Credit".
We're excited to announce that Pale Blue Dot and Contrarian Ventures recently led an investment round in Ember. They're joined by a range of individual experts in energy, travel and tech, including the founders of Skyscanner, Monzo and Zenobe.
We couldn't have hoped for a better group of backers. All are strongly aligned with our mission and they bring a range of expertise and experience that will help us to grow faster over the coming years.
You can read about why Pale Blue Dot invested on Substack.
We do everything we can to avoid cancelling services because we know reliability is critical. However, sometimes it's impossible to avoid a cancellation – e.g. due to severe weather or a major road closure. When this happens, our priority is getting information out to passengers as quickly as possible.
To help with this, we've improved how we log cancellations in our system including adding support for partial cancellations (e.g. when a journey has to stop short due to a bridge closure).
This means we can now show more informative information online, such as the cancellation reason. It also allows us to review past cancellations in a structured way, so we can look back and figure out if there's anything we can do to reduce cancellation rates. In the near future, we're be adding further helpful features such as automatic cancellation notifications and more seamless rebooking and refund options.
We've increased the frequency of our services. Our Dundee to Edinburgh service has a bus up to every 65 minutes, and our Dundee to Glasgow service has a bus up to every 90 minutes.
You can now buy credit through your online account, with a 25% bonus if you spend £100 or over. Your credit will be used automatically for future purchases – just make sure you are logged in. It never expires so it's a good way for everyone to save, even if you only travel from time to time.
You can now change your tickets directly, without needing to cancel and rebook. Just click the new "Change" button on your ticket and you'll be able to change your stop, departure time or number of travellers.
There's no fee for changing a ticket and you can do it as many times as you need.
We're launching a new route from Dundee to Glasgow. We'll be soft-launching with four services per day in each direction from 14 July. This will be followed by a full-service launch on 1 August with ten services per day in each direction, running 24/7.
It's just £8.50 for an adult single from Dundee to Glasgow if you book online (whether you book weeks before or a minute ahead).
In Dundee, we'll be picking up outside Malmaison in the city centre and dropping off at the train station (about 100m away from the pick up point). In Glasgow, we'll be calling at Buchanan Bus Station. We also have a range of intermediate stops including Stirling (Castleview Park & Ride), Dunblane, Cumbernauld and Perth (Broxden Park & Ride).
During the soft-launch period, it'll only be possible to book a journey to and from Glasgow but we'll be opening up the full range of journeys from 1 August.
You can see the full route and all the stops on our live map.
If you cancel your ticket, you can now request a card refund online as an alternative to Ember credit. We've always offered these as an alternative to Ember credit but previously you've had to contact us by email. This new online option makes it that much easier.
We've increased the frequency of our Dundee to Edinburgh service with a bus up to every 75 minutes. We've also introduced a new stop at Bridge of Earn. Some other stops will become pre-booked only, allowing us to maintain fast end-to-end journey times.
The Scottish Government has just launched the new National Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme for Young Persons and we're delighted to be participating from day one. If you're aged 5-21 and living in Scotland, you're eligible to apply for a card that will entitle you to free travel. Once you have a card, you can book for free with Ember – just book as a concession, then tap your card when you get on board the bus.
Learn how to apply for a card.
Book an Ember ticket straight to Edinburgh Airport through our new integration with Edinburgh Trams.
Just search for a journey as normal and we'll automatically include a connection from Ingliston Park & Ride (our closest stop) to the airport. It's only a three minute tram journey and your Ember ticket is valid for the whole journey. Just show it to the conductor on board the tram.
We've made a few changes to our Dundee to Edinburgh route. As well as introducing new pre-booked stops (see our other announcement), we're also tweaking our overall route to go via Ingliston P&R (for easy airport connections) and changing our stops in Edinburgh. We'll now be terminating at St Andrew Square (rather than St Andrew's House) and we're introducing a new stop at Haymarket.
We're introducing a new feature called pre-booked stops. This is a special type of stop where we'll only call if there's a booking at least 10 minutes ahead.
If there's a booking, the driver will be dynamically routed to the stop. Otherwise, they'll drive straight past. This means we can keep end-to-end journey times fast whilst also serving smaller towns and villages.
Our first pre-booked stops will be St Madoes, Longforgan and Edinburgh Zoo – all launching in the next few days – but we hope to add more over time if they're a success.