The Big Lemon
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Mercedes-Benz 811D/Marshall bus.
|Headquarters||Protran House, Boundary Road, Black Rock, Brighton|
|Service area||East Sussex|
|Fuel type||Biodiesel (Refined from locally-collected and processed Waste Cooking Oil)|
The Big Lemon is a bus operator in Brighton, East Sussex, England, operating public bus services and private hire operations as well as festival travel and waste oil collection. Registered as a Community Interest Company, the company markets itself as Brighton's friendly bus company, while pushing it's eco-friendly credentials as its buses are fueled using second-life locally-sourced cooking oil.
The Big Lemon was born as an idea in Founder Tom Druitt's head in October 2006. A Brighton resident and former Care Home Manager. Tom and business partner Graeme launched the first service in 2007 after Tom qualified as a transport manager.
Initial service 
After gaining an operator license, its first public transport route was launched on 1 September 2007 by Caroline Lucas MEP, a green party MEP for South East England. Route 42X was originally operated from Brighton Station to Falmer Station, with hopes to expand the operation with more routes. After lower than expected passenger numbers, and competition from Brighton & Hove, the company had decided to scale down the level of service, re-launching it in January 2008, and to reconsider its operating model.
Due to the loss of some drivers by making them redundant shortly before Christmas, the company had to withdraw the service early on 30 November 2007, bringing a fine from the Traffic Commissioner. In an unprecedented move, the company made a public appeal to its passengers calling on them to write directly to the Traffic Commissioner to allow it to stop the service early, as it felt the company was in a catch 22 situation: it would not be able to run the service for the mandated period before withdrawal without incurring prohibitive costs that could force the company into administration, however, not running the service would potentially see its license to run any services revoked by the commissioner. Permission was eventually refused.
From 7 January to 29 January 2008, the service operated on a reduced frequency, ending once the original route registration expired after the mandated period.
The service was re-launched on 28 February, with a new route still numbered 42, and a new timetable, aimed at university students. Appeals to the Traffic Commissioner to waive the rules on the notification period for new registrations had failed, producing a gap in service until re-launch.
The new service was cut back to terminate at Churchill Square rather than Brighton station, due to previous apparent low demand for journeys to the station, and peak time congestion around the station. The service was also changed to run later into the night, with evening route extensions via the University of Sussex Falmer campus.
This new service operated until a planned end on 26 June 2008, for the summer term break, to be restarted again on 29 September 2008.
Service 42/42A/N42 
This was The Big Lemons first public bus service, originating from its service 42X. Service 42 operated from Churchill Square - Sussex University via Lewes Road operating in direct competition with Brighton & Hove Buses service 25 . During the evenings the route number changed to 42A and served West Street. It would later change to N42 and operate still from West Street - Sussex University just as the 42A did. The N42 charged high fares as it operated from 0000 - 0400.
In 2011 the company scrapped numbers 42A & N42 and renumbered then simply 42. On the 9th of December 2011 the company applied to the Traffic Commissioner to cancel service 42. The company blamed the move on the intense competition that it faced on the route from Brighton & Hove Buses service 25. Earlier in 2011 Brighton & Hove Buses lowered its fares just on service 25 to match the prices charged by The Big Lemon.Brighton & Hove Buses have planned to make service 25 a Bendy Bus route using articulated buses cascading down from London. These much higher capacity buses would displace the Double Deckers to other routes in the city.
Service 43 
Service 43 was introduced in September 2010 and only operated till January 2011. The route still focusing on the student trade operated from Old Steine during the day and Hove during the evening up to Brighton University campus at Falmer. The route ran hourly and was normally operated by Dennis Darts.
Service 44 
Introduced at the same time as the 43 in September 2010, service 44 is the only service that operates that is not in direct competition with Brighton & Hove Buses. Service 44 runs from Old Steine - Varley Halls Campus via Lewes Road. This service still runs today and is normally found using Mercedes Benz minibuses on it.
Service 52 
In July 2012, the Argus newspaper told the public that due to an administrative error at the City Council, it meant several bus operators bids were overlooked. The outcome meant the revised service 52 which will run from Brighton Marina - Woodingdean will be awarded to The Big Lemon. The service started in September 2012.
Bus Services Currently Operated as of 2012 
44 Churchill Square - Brighton Old Steine - Lewes Road - Moulsecoomb - Varley Halls - Brighton University
52 Brighton Marina - Ovingdean - Woodingdean (starts September 2012)
In January 2011, Brighton & Hove Buses reduced their fares to match The Big Lemon's. The company claims this is an attempt to put it out of business.
Further to this in October 2011 The Big Lemon lowered its day ticket price back down to £2 and introduced an evening return ticket of £1 in response to the competition.
However in December 2011 the company applied to the Traffic Commissioner to cancel service 42. The company blamed the move on the intense competition that it faced from Brighton & Hove Buses
The Big Lemon currently has the following
Volvo M751 LAX, K779 DAO, N905 AAS,
Mercedes P162 TDW, P229 EJW,
Dennis Dart X224 WNO, X228 WNO,
See also 
- The Argus, Bright bid for bus franchise, 16 October 2008
- The Argus, Lemon buses squeezed off road, 3 December 2007
- The Argus, Big Lemon Squeezed out, 31 January 2008
- Official site news page. Accessed 8 September 2008
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