We’re coming to Bristol!

The Big Lemon is coming to Bristol!

The Big Lemon is delighted to confirm that services will commence in Bristol from Monday 3rd October on the following routes:

Our electric bus “Freddie Harrison” in central Bristol

The Big Lemon is passionate about providing an excellent passenger experience on the buses and excited by the opportunity to launch in Bristol.  Our drivers in Brighton are famous for the friendly and helpful service they provide, and we are really looking forward to bringing the same ethos to our services in Bristol.

Fares

Our fares are in line with the requirements of the West of England Combined Authority and consistent with those of other operators in the region.

The BristolRider ticket gives unlimited access to all bus services in Bristol regardless of who they are operated by, and the AvonRider gives unlimited access to all bus services in the wider area including Bath and North East Somerset, Weston Super Mare and North Somerset.

Where’s my bus?

Bus Drivers Wanted!

We’re recruiting!

The Big Lemon is looking for qualified PSV drivers to drive routes 505, 506, 515 and 516. As well as excellent rates of pay, a welcome bonus and free membership of the Transport Benevolent Fund, we offer the opportunity to work in a small family team where everyone is a name, not a number; and we all work together to do our best for our colleagues and for the community.

If this sounds like something you’d like more info on, please fill in the form below 🙂

To keep up to date with news of our Bristol operation please follow @TheBigLemon on Twitter and Facebook.

The Big Lemon London to Brighton EV Rally, sponsored by EDF, returns tomorrow 25th June!

Charge your vehicles – following the runaway success of the inaugural event in September 2021, the second London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally, sponsored by EDF, will now be going ahead tomorrow, Saturday 25th June 2022. In association with the RAC, JLC Group, 3ti and the University of Brighton the Rally will leave from Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London at 7.00am and cover 59 miles, before finishing on Brighton Beach. All entries will stop at Ifield College near Crawley for a breakfast and adjudication before continuing to Brighton.

Tom Druitt, Co-founder of the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally in vehicle number 2 gives the camera an enthusiastic thumbs up!

Tom Druitt, Co-founder of the event and CEO of The Big Lemon CIC has big things in store for the day:

“Following the success of our inaugural Rally last year we now have a bigger and better event to look forward to on the 25th June! We will be welcoming 67 different vehicles in 11 different categories – from e-bikes all the way to buses, and all vehicles will be on display on Madeira Drive afterwards.

“The aim of the event is to demonstrate and celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy technology and have a fun day in the process.

“We have some very interesting vehicles in our ‘self-build’ category, and we will be celebrating afterwards with an awards ceremony and after-party at the University of Brighton, with awards for the most efficient vehicles in each class and for the most innovative and most sustainable designs.”

Tom Druitt, Co-founder of the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally in vehicle number 2 gives the camera an enthusiastic thumbs up!

The team are all incredibly excited to welcome such a diverse and strong display of Electric Vehicles and methods of transportation to the South coast. This year among the self builds there are solar cars and even an electric aircraft following the route to Brighton.

Spectators are invited to join the Rally at the halfway point at Ifield Community College and the finish line at Madeira Drive, Brighton, where all vehicles will be on display and cheered as they cross the finish line.

The finish line with all our fantastic sponsors’ logos is a welcome sight for our intrepid drivers!

The E-village on Brighton Beach will encourage visitors to explore the electric way of life, with an array of interactive stands, live music and entertainment and displays from the UK’s leading EV companies, along with an education zone and test track area.

Visitors will have the opportunity to test drive one of The Big Lemon’s electric buses, ride the Volks Railway, drive converted classic cars and have a ride on the Brighton Zip. A children’s electric go-kart track will give the younger visitors the opportunity to get behind the wheel, whilst the Ardingly College sponsored education zone will help answer any questions and learn about the benefits associated with switching to electric.

Electric vehicles pass over Westminster Bridge the first London to Brighton Electric vehicle rally ***Pic by David McHugh / Brighton Pictures 07768 721637***

As with last year our recovery partner is the RAC, the number-one for EV breakdown as it is the only UK breakdown provider to offer van-mounted, lightweight emergency mobile charging systems for EVs. Their expert patrols can use EV Boost to get a flat quickly sorted out or get a severely depleted EV on the move again. If you need a garage, the RAC’s All Wheels Up recovery system can be used to tow an EV safely with all four wheels off the ground.

JLC group, based in Hailsham, East Sussex are a main sponsor of the event this year and will be profiling their new electric commercial vehicles along with the incredibly fun NoSmoke 1960s inspired convertible. They will be hosting a VIP area at the Brighton Zip and will be displaying their latest state of the art commercial vehicles.

Partnered with YouTube sensation “Fully Charged” the rally will start at 7.00am in London. There will be a mid-point stop at Ifield Community College from 8.00am and then the vehicles will be on display on Madeira Drive, Brighton from 10.00am until 4.00pm. The coveted awards ceremony will take place tomorrow, 25th June at Elm House, University of Brighton with awards for participants with the lowest energy consumption and general performance across all categories.

Categories for the rally include:

  • E-Bikes
  • E-Motorbikes
  • City Cars
  • Saloon cars
  • SUVs
  • Vans
  • Self-builds
  • Minibuses
  • Buses
  • Trucks
  • Electric plane
Competitor no 69 preparing for action!

“We would like to thank all the event’s partners and sponsors for their support, without their help this year’s event would not be possible.”

Bill Harrison, Event Director and Co-Founder

Our partners include: The Big Lemon CIC, EDF, JLC Group, RAC, Fully Charged, University of Brighton, Current PR, Hendy, 3ti and Drive Electric.

Electric Buses in Somerset & Wiltshire?

The Big Lemon headed to Frome last weekend for one of Frome’s Green Breather Days.

This is a day when the town centre is closed to traffic (apart from a Big Lemon bus and a CoCars car-share car!); there are a series of them throughout the year and this particular one had a “sustainable transport” theme.

It was a really enjoyable day! Local shoppers were very interested in the bus and very keen to see zero-emissions bus services in the local area. Frome and Villages Bus Users Group had a stall next door and we had some good conversations about bus services, the potential for a transition to low carbon and zero-emissions buses, and about community business models.

We also met a number of local councillors, both from Frome and also other market towns nearby. There are a number of towns in the area who are looking at their community bus services and are very keen to transition to low carbon and zero-emissions services, as well as improve provision in their towns, especially at evenings and weekends.

We had a great time in Frome and it was a real pleasure to meet local residents, bus users and councillors! It was great to see so many people interested in low-carbon and zero-emissions buses, and there was also a lot of interest in community business models more generally. And to top it all, I bumped into an old friend from Brighton who used to ride The Big Lemon ten years ago!

Tom Druitt, Founder & CEO

The Big Lemon’s public bus network fully zero-emissions for the first time ever – on Clean Air Day!

Following many years of hard work by so many people, and with the help of a large community of supporters and investors, yesterday, for the first time ever, we ran a fully zero-emissions electric bus service on all our public bus routes in Brighton & Hove!

A new spring was ordered straight away from Ireland, but then it had to go through customs.. and who knows how long that’s going to take! But this morning it arrived, and our engineers got onto it straight away.

By lunchtime it was done, which was perfect timing because the bus was then able to relieve other buses so they could have a top up charge which would enable them to then continue for the rest of the day.

So we swapped the buses over to give each one a chance to top up, and that kept the whole fleet going on pure electric until the end of the day. Even the staff ferry vehicle used for drivers’ break reliefs was electric!

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible, our team at The Big Lemon, our passengers, and all those in the wider community who have supported us, invested in our buses, helped us crowdfund for our solar roof… Thank you so much

Tom Druitt, Founder & CEO

EV Works – a new Hub for Sustainable Transport and Community Businesses in Brighton?

On Thursday 9th June we hosted an open day at our new EV Works site next to our depot in East Brighton. We exchanged ideas on how a sustainable transport hub could help meet the city’s transport and clean air goals, and contribute towards a carbon neutral Brighton & Hove in 2030. We also explored how we could use the space to support fledgling sustainability or community business initiatives.

We were thrilled to have representatives from across the city’s sustainable transport and business community: Brighton & Hove Council, Bike Hub, BTN Bikeshare, Compass Bus, Compost Club, Community Works, FareShare Sussex, UK Power Networks, Wild Drive Campers, an eCargo bike enthusiast, and even a representative from Fleet Bus User Group in Hampshire!

It’s really important to us that we have representation from across the community from the start as we develop the EV Works concept. It’s brilliant so many people came along and shared their ideas and experience.

Anthony, Innovation Lead at The Big Lemon

We were given a tour of Wild Drive’s brand new eCampervan, a test ride of Hourbike’s new eCargo bike, and Mike from the Compost Club explained how a site like the EV works could help him grow his startup compost collection and delivery service. We heard from Fareshare how a hub could help them meet their small business fleet day time charging needs and we started a discussion with BikeHub about establishing a new location for their cycle maintenance and training activity. And of course, we took the opportunity to show people round our new charging infrastructure, Higer buses and EV hire cars!

One of the most important things for us as we develop the EV Works ideas is feedback and ideas. Our Big Lemon clipboards and sharpies were put to good use while we enjoyed refreshments from Brighton Bier and Bagelman. We have collected some great initial ideas and feedback, so a huge thank you to everyone for taking the time to leave comments.

If you were not able to be there but still have a burning question, thought or idea it’s not too late, please use the link below to fill in our quick online survey.

Whats next? Based on how well this open day went we will be arranging more for the near future. Please stay tuned and we will share details of the EV Works as our plans develop and future events soon!

The Big Lemon invites you to an open evening at our site “EV Works” in East Brighton on Thursday 9th June at 5pm.

As we develop our plans for a zero emissions transport hub for the city we would love to hear your ideas.

Please join us at 5pm on Thursday 9th June at Boundary Road in East Brighton where we will tour the site, discuss the infrastructure we are planning to install at the site and share some fine beers and snacks courtesy of our neighbours at the Brighton Bier tap room.

The Big Lemon team at the new East Brighton site

There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss and share your ideas as well so if you are interested in how the EV Works could help you reach your own zero emissions goals we’d love you to join us.

Please click here to book your free place

While the city council is committed to a Livable City (LTP5) as part of its 2030 net zero pledge, much still needs to be done for local people and businesses to be able to choose zero emissions vehicles and transport options. 

The Local Transport Plan 5 (LTP5) consultation report identifies strategic transport hubs as a vital part of providing the infrastructure needed to promote and enable the behaviour change required to meet the 2030 target.

The Big Lemon has been leading the transition away from fossil fuels since 2007 through operating buses and coaches first with recycled waste cooking oil, and from 2017, with electric buses powered by solar panels on the roof of the bus depot.

We are always on the lookout for opportunities to expand our impact and reach more people with more options to transition away from the use of petrol and diesel vehicles towards shared and active transport options.

The Big Lemon has taken over a 1500m2 disused gas works adjacent to East Brighton Park and plans to use it for an exciting pilot project, the EV Works. The pilot will provide space and resources to businesses, entrepreneurs and local residents to trial, launch, and experiment with zero emissions transport and logistics options. 

“We are creating a space for local people and businesses to come together and trial zero emission transport options. We will be making a fleet of EVs available to hire; expect eCargo bikes, EV cars, vans, pickups and buses to be available from the site. We also want to create a home for other entrepreneurs to launch and trial their own zero emissions start-ups” – Anthony Prior, Innovation Lead, The Big Lemon

Our friends at Mid Sussex Electrical installing new EV charging infrastructure.

“If the city and the wider population is going to meet our carbon reduction goals we are all going to have to rethink our transport choices. So if you have a concept that you think could benefit from a community of like minded entrepreneurs we would love to hear from you. The more choices and options we can bring together the better.” Tom Druitt, The Big Lemon founder & CEO.

The Big Lemon invite you to get involved! If you are interested in finding out more, or even in contributing to what the project can offer they would like to hear from you. 

“Decarbonising our transport and reducing tailpipe pollution needs bold initiatives like this. the EV Works will help create a focal point for the many ideas, organisations and services in the city, well done!” Arjo Ghosh, Co-Founder, electrictogether.com

The team is hosting an early evening event on Thursday 9th June Food and drink will be served by neighbouring brewery, Brighton Bier. If you think the EV Works could help you the team would like to hear from you! If you would like to attend please click here to book your free place.

“Like The Big Lemon, we’re passionate about decarbonising whilst providing inclusive and sustainable transport options for everyone. The EV works is a groundbreaking and inspiring project that shows Brighton & Hove is leading on taking steps to address the challenges we all face today. We’re pleased to be supporting this exciting venture and looking forward to being involved as it develops Paul Topham, BTN Bikeshare

If you would like a chat about the project please contact anthony@thebiglemon.com or call Anthony directly on 07891 893806. 

Sunday Walk on Ashdown Forest

Come and join us for a walk on Ashdown Forest on Sunday 15th May!

The walk takes in beautiful views over gorse, birch and pine heathland, and we may see deer as well as many birds. We will visit the A A Milne Memorial, the Airman’s Grave and the “Garden of Eden” waterfall.

The bus will leave Stop S, Old Steine, Brighton at 10am. Bring good walking shoes/boots, a bottle of water, sun cream and a coat.

Book Now

This is the first of the season’s walks. Others planned are:

5 June – Cuckoo Trail Hailsham to Horam

26 June – Friston Forest & the Long Man of Wilmington

24 July – Pevensey to Herstmonceux, option to finish at the castle or the pub

21 August – Ditchling Beacon & Blackcap – finish at Half Moon, Plumpton

11 September – Pulborough to Amberley, finish at the riverside

1/2 October weekend – New Forest: two day weekend break exploring the New Forest with one night in the Lyndhurst/Brockenhurst area

30 October – Cissbury to Chanctonbury and finish in Washington

Admiring the view on one of our previous walks to Chanctonbury Ring

Ukraine Appeal

The Big Lemon is working with Sussex Homeless Support to support a refugee centre on the Hungarian/Ukrainian border, and residents in the town of Mukachevo in western Ukraine. A Big Lemon bus will be leaving from Hove Town Hall on Thursday evening, 9.30pm, 7 April to take aid to Mukachevo.

Please help by spreading the word, donating items or supporting our crowdfunder. Thank you!

To make it really easy, we’ve put all the important info in one image, below. Please share widely and let’s fill this bus! Thank you so much.

Please bring your donations to:

The Big Lemon depot, Protran House, Boundary Rd, Brighton BN2 5TJ Weekdays 9am – 5pm

You can also give things to our drivers on the bus: www.thebiglemon.com/buses; 01273 681681

Sussex Homeless Support, 35b Providence Place, Brighton, BN1 4GE; Weekdays 10am – 4pm

Hove Town Hall: Tisbury Road, Hove BN3 2BF

A Big Lemon bus will be parked outside the back of Hove Town Hall on Thursday 7 April, between 4pm and 9.30pm, staffed by volunteers. Please come and say hi, and bring anything you have from the list. Thank you!

Please Donate to our Crowdfunder!

Ukraine is in great need of specialist medical supplies which most people do not have in their kitchen cupboards so alongside the donations that Brighton & Hove residents are providing we are also buying medical equipment on the way (it’s simpler to buy it in the EU and pick it up en route). How much we can buy depends on how much we can raise, so all donations will be very welcome and will make a big difference!

A couple of weeks ago we used one of our coaches from Brighton Horizon Coaches to take donations collected at St Andrews Church in Hove to London, for onward transport to Poland to support Ukrainian refugees. The volunteers in London were very pleased to see us and very grateful for the support of residents of Brighton & Hove:

Last chance to have your say on Brighton & Hove’s new Local Transport Plan #OneJourneyBetter

Brighton & Hove City Council is currently consulting on a new Local Transport Plan (LTP5), and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).

There is a huge amount to be welcomed. The direction of travel is good, and the ambition is clear. The council wants to make walking and cycling safe and easy, and bus travel affordable and convenient. There is a commitment to air quality and health, and to meeting the city’s aspirations for a carbon-neutral 2030.

The overarching Vision of the Local Transport Plan is Better connected residents, businesses and visitors, for an improved quality of life in a healthy, inclusive and carbon neutral city”.

In pursuit of this vision, there are three main objectives:

  1. Reduce the need to travel
  2. Switch how people travel
  3. Encourage cleaner vehicles

Within the plan, the council hopes to achieve these objectives by

  • creating an inclusive and integrated transport system
  • developing streets and places that encourage and enable active travel
  • increasing public transport use
  • reducing car use
  • promoting and facilitating the use of low and zero emission vehicles
  • promoting and using technology to reduce and manage travel

There are many positive actions proposed as part of the plans, ranging from the creation of a “liveable city centre”, strategic transport hubs and an expanded ultra-low emissions zone; to support for car-free developments, school streets and low traffic neighbourhoods. In addition the LCWIP also has very ambitious plans to create walking zones across large parts of the city where walking is made much easier, safer and more pleasant; as well as a network of safe cycling routes.

What do we think?

The Big Lemon wholeheartedly welcomes the objectives, but has some reservations about how they are to be achieved. In short, we do not believe that the actions identified in the plan will be enough to achieve the plan’s objectives.

Why do we think this? Because the current draft of the plan stops short of the radical action required to realise its vision. To achieve a better connected, inclusive and carbon neutral city will require a much more radical change to the city’s transport infrastructure.

Why?

While an expanded ultra-low emissions zone is very much welcomed, there is no specific information on the area that will be covered or the vehicles that it will apply to; and most importantly there is no mention of a congestion zone. The ultra-low emissions zone by itself will not reduce congestion long term because as vehicle manufacturers shift to electric (and in some cases hydrogen) more and more vehicles will become compliant and therefore will no longer be covered by the zone. This is a good thing for air quality, but it’s not a long term solution for congestion.

Additionally, in order to make buses more attractive to people we need to make them quicker and cheaper; and although the draft plans recognise this, they are not sufficiently ambitious to achieve it. Red routes and bus priority at junctions will make a difference and we welcome them, but they are incremental improvements – not the radical change that is required to create a noticeable difference to journey times and fares.

What would this radical change look like?

  • A comprehensive network of sustainable transport corridors, with segregated bus and cycle lanes ,would make active travel and public transport much more attractive and allow for significantly faster journeys and, ultimately, cheaper fares.
  • On-street parking should be restricted to side roads, leaving the main routes in and out of the city fully available to maximise movement along these important corridors. In short, our valuable strategic routes in and out of the city should not be used for parking vehicles in.
  • Strategic transport hubs should be close to the city boundary with sufficient parking to take most incoming vehicles off the road and provide their passengers with fast and convenient trains, buses and cycle routes straight to the heart of the city

What do you think?

Our Passenger Survey Results are in!

Each year we like to do a passenger survey; last year we didn’t do one due to Covid, but this year we did!

Soon after the results came in the services went out to tender (the original contract expired on 16th September) so we didn’t publish them during the tender process. However, now that process has finished, we are free to share them.

500 paper questionnaires were handed to passengers at random on our public bus routes 16, 47, 52 and 57 in the week of 21 – 27 June. 313 questionnaires were returned.

A Few of the Highlights:

  • 93% said information was easy to access;
  • 98% said the service was “spot on” or “reasonably” punctual;
  • 98% said they felt ‘Covid-safe’ on our buses;
  • 99% said the bus was “spot on” or “reasonably” clean;
  • 99% said the bus was “spot on” or “reasonably” comfortable;
  • 99% said they thought the journey was good value for money;
  • 99% said they wanted The Big Lemon to continue operating the service; and100% said the driver was “spot on” or “reasonably” friendly and helpful.

Social Enterprise, Zero Emissions and Renewable Energy

  • 76% knew that we’re a social enterprise run for community benefit
  • 77% knew that we’re converting our fleet to 100% electric
  • 55% knew that we power the buses with solar panels on the roof of our depot

And about three quarters of our passengers felt these things were important:

  • 75% thought local, social enterprises are important
  • 77% thought zero-emissions buses are important
  • 76% thought renewable energy is important

The Importance of the Buses

One thing that was really clear was how much people rely on the buses:

  • 71% relied upon the buses to get around
  • a further 27% did have other options but preferred the bus

And if these services weren’t provided:

  • 44% would have used another bus
  • 8% would have used a car
  • 9% would have used a taxi
  • 17% would have walked or cycled
  • 2% would have used something else
  • 20% would have stayed at home

Founder and CEO of The Big Lemon, Tom Druitt, said

We are delighted to see such positive feedback, especially in regard to the service provided by our drivers. Community is central to everything we do at The Big Lemon, and our focus is on recruiting friendly, helpful staff and training them to deliver a high quality, personal service on the buses. It’s really nice to see our team so appreciated.

“It’s also reassuring to know that people feel Covid-safe on our buses, and we would like to reassure everyone that we are still deep-cleaning the buses every day, and providing face coverings on the buses for those who need them.

“We are conscious that there is work to do on information provision, and we have recently invested in new ticket machines to provide more accurate geolocation; on-board next stop announcements; and a passenger app (coming soon!) where people can see where their bus is and how long it will take to arrive.

The big eye-opener for me was how important these services are for people. 20% of passengers reported that if the service didn’t run they would have simply stayed at home. With isolation and loneliness such big problems in our community it is essential that we maintain these lifelines for people who would otherwise be excluded from so much of life, with very little opportunity to meet people, build friendships and maintain their independence.

The Survey Results in Full

Why?

  • Good service
  • GOOD SERVICE
  • My only bus
  • Very good service and drivers are always helpful. Drivers always say hello (Brighton & Hove bus drivers a lot of the time don’t even smile, but some are really pleasant)
  • Very convenient as it’s quicker than any 5 bus and the only bus to go to my college that I can access from my home.
  • Very friendly and very helpful
  • Excellent service
  • It’s a great service! Fab, friendly drivers.
  • More efficient, friendly staff
  • It is reliable and friendly
  • Good service, drivers very obliging and friendly. Not like the 5B.
  • Friendly drivers, useful route and yellow buses
  • Very friendly & reliable!
  • Most convenient and I like it.
  • All of the above
  • It provides a good service with good staff.
  • Lovely staff and very good service.
  • Nice drivers.
  • Because it is a community bus and the bus drivers are all well known on The Big Lemon.
  • Because it would upset my sons routine as he knows all the staff and bus by name. The service provided is better than B&H buses.
  • Because it is the only bus that goes directly to my house.
  • Drivers are friendly
  • because it is a friendly and reliable service
  • Always on time, use clean energy and friendly staff.
  • it’s very good
  • this bus is very easy to use and does not take a long time unlike other buses. Please continue this service because it is very important to us.
  • I am used to the drivers because I have a brain injury.
  • It’s just brilliant, can’t fault it. Renewable energy, good community feel to their service. Friendlier and happier bus drivers than B&H buses 🙂
  • Because it is the best bus in Brighton!
  • We want to stick with what we know
  • why change something so successful.
  • It works.
  • Very pleased with The Big Lemon and its operation
  • It is by far the very best bus company!
  • because it’s good and gets me to where I want to go
  • It is convenient
  • It goes where I need to go to work
  • Follow the yellow bus road!
  • Consistency
  • Satisfied with The Big Lemon
  • It is a very reliable, satisfactory service.
  • Friendlier staff
  • They are reliable and friendly
  • It’s the best because of its values.
  • reliable, friendly staff
  • Because the drivers are fab!
  • I have always used this bus and enjoy the company of the drivers.
  • Very reliable
  • Friendly reliable drivers
  • Much more reliable now – shame not a half hourly service
  • I like the ethos of the company
  • Lemon seem to really care about the environment
  • good for the community and the environment
  • I just don’t mind which company you are but I don’t want it to be suspended I rely on it every day
  • Environmentally clean
  • Top staff on the whole
  • helps elderly and others to get around
  • Has improved and is now working well
  • Efficient
  • Because I like this bus
  • They provide a great service
  • Very efficient and usually on time. Saves me changing buses as I can complete my journey on one bus.
  • A very good service for those not on a normal bus route
  • The drivers are always helpful
  • used to it and like Big Lemon services
  • The drivers are great/ so helpful. Bus reliable.
  • You do a wonderful job and a great service
  • we have friendly drivers
  • It’s the only bus I can use to get to school.
  • It would be helpful to have the buses running more frequently
  • Very good service and polite staff
  • The Big Lemon is providing a valuable service and feels part of the community. Why would we want to change that?
  • because it is easy for out family, safe and is so quick
  • The normal buses have a live timetable to see precise location of bus
  • They are the best
  • God personal service, reliable. staff care about passengers
  • because my son is autistic and doesn’t like change and the bus drivers are friendly
  • environmentally friendly
  • Great service and helpful staff
  • Most definitely is a friendly bus and we all know each other.
  • they have given a very good service throughout these difficult times.
  • I have found it a perfect service and very well run. I don’t see why it should change.
  • Good service and nice drivers.
  • The best
  • Access for the most remote areas in Ovingdean
  • I am happy with the service.
  • They are such friendly people.
  • The best!
  • Because it works and i can rely on it.
  • It goes down roads that other buses don’t.
  • Big Lemon are Electric.

Do you have any other comments you would like to make?

  • As long as it turns up and stops
  • Keep up the good service
  • Please keep this bus
  • I would be inconvenienced without it.
  • I would miss this bus as it is door to door for me and as I am elderly this is amazing!
  • They have been doing an excellent job
  • Possibly have solar panels on actual buses so don’t have to change all the time!
  • Operate 52 on a Sunday for Woodingdean. To have all leather seats on buses and remove the fabric seats on older buses.
  • I would prefer Big Lemon to continue, they know us
  • Mark is a fantastic driver who is amazing with all the passengers and really good and patient with the kids.
  • Drivers are helpful and friendly and the company offers help to the community no matter what.
  • Is it possible that it could come earlier?
  • This bus is very helpful to me and others.
  • I think The Big Lemon is brilliant!
  • Big Lemon is doing a good job and I would like seeing the company going electric and doing their but to the world!
  • Thank you so much to the bus driver you make my day every day.
  • Must keep our lemon bus! from Barbs the lemon bus makes me happy x
  • Good all round service
  • Very impressed with all your drivers and buses!
  • Very helpful and friendly drivers – efficient service
  • Please do not take it off
  • a 2 hour Sunday service ( 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm)!
  • Occasionally I have I have had to wait a long time for a bus going from Preston Park to Fiveways.
  • I hope you continue
  • The bus doesn’t always show on real time boards
  • A lot of the time the same people use this bus at the same time. I have made quite a few friends!
  • Ady and Brian, very helpful and polite, friendly and welcoming.
  • All drivers are very friendly
  • Half hour frequency at busy times
  • Unfortunate when certain afternoon buses filled with school children who aren’t always going to Saltdean but get off in Brighton. They also occupy seats meant for the elderly. Could the drivers please ensure this doesn’t happen when elderly passengers get on and have to stand!
  • I would like an earlier service (7am), which serves Brighton Station, to be considered.
  • Great service, great style
  • Please can we have a Sunday service too
  • Some buses can run down Lyminster early
  • Maybe could do with two services an hour instead of one every hour
  • Would really miss this service
  • Would still prefer the route to go via Churchill Sq
  • Great service on a difficult route
  • An invaluable service for the elderly
  • Desperately worried bus route might go.
  • It’s good that Hangleton is served to Portslade
  • Thank you for providing an efficient and cheerful service.
  • Please continue The Big Lemon
  • If this bus stops, so does my freedom. (as do so many others)
  • Very good service
  • Would be helpful to have a Sunday service
  • Don’t take our bus away
  • The drivers are all very friendly and helpful
  • Sustainable and compact bus and all buses should be like this
  • Using this bus has allowed me to use public transport in a covid era because it make me feel safer than other bus services. Otherwise I would not use any public transport.
  • Please continue with this bus
  • keep the good work up your drivers are always so lovely and helpful.
  • Love you guys!
  • It’s nice to talk to other passengers, we have all got to know each other.
  • Keep this route, would be nice every half an hour.
  • Provides a high level of service by its drivers and staff.
  • If the bus 47/57 no longer operates I and several others users will not be as we have difficulty climbing the hill from Longridge Avenue to East Saltdean.
  • It’s a pleasure travelling on big lemon.
  • Use both 16 & 47 and excellent drivers.
  • The 52A at 7:10 from Cowley Drive stops (Woodingdean) would be useful to go to Stanford Avenue (Mon-Fri).
  • Would be extremely good if you had one bus to run later to support hospital workers at end of shift 20:00hrs.
  • Good service all around & good for the environment.
  • A very good service overall.
  • You drivers are so nice, friendly and polite.
  • Big Lemon is the best even during covid-19 they still picked me up everyday
  • 2 buses an hour
  • Mark the driver is brilliant.
  • All the drivers are helpful friendly and always on time Mark is very friendly driver.
  • We don’t want to be without our bus please keep the Big Lemon running
  • It would be nice if one of the buses included north Rottingdean
  • Long may it continue
  • Again been very pleased with the service
  • Please keep going
  • It’s the best bus service in Brighton
  • I really need the bus as it’s very good and I cannot walk very far because of my RA
  • I always catch the 52 when I need the bus over other services.
  • Hard to find bus timetables.
  • Drivers really cheerful/helpful local service.
  • Helpful friendly drivers nothing too much trouble
  • it’s very important to have a good service
  • We would like the buses to run later than 6PM
  • Bus to finish a bit later
  • The buses are always clean
  • I felt safe to use the bus during Covid
  • I would use it more often if it was more frequent ( say every 1/2 hour)
  • It can be quite difficult to know if the bus is delayed or cancelled.
  • Sustainability is key for all public transport, buses in particular and The Big Lemon is the only bus company that runs 100% electric buses powered by solar energy
  • Keep up the great work. I am an investor in The Big Lemon
  • I am an investor
  • Good luck – keep up the good work!
  • Drivers are so friendly and helpful, you feel safe
  • This is a community bus for our community and which we would choose to remain as one
  • Drivers are exceptionally friendly and cheery.
  • I have used the 52 bus since it started. Will be sorry to lose this service.
  • The drivers who drive the 16 are always helpful and know your name when you get on.
  • Big Lemon buses always have the friendliest drivers
  • Just “thank you” for help given and appreciated
  • Very good service and always helpful. It would be a shame to see them go as they cover many areas of Brighton that can be awkward to reach.

The Big Lemon London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally 2021 – a celebration of the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy

Video by Ric Boullemier, Generate Media, on behalf of Fully Charged

The first ever London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally ran its inaugural event on Saturday, 18 September, with 71 vehicles in nine different categories crossing the finish line next to the Palace Pier, having driven 59 miles from Parliament Square to Brighton.

The Deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Mary Mears, welcomed participants as they finished the rally, and BBC Sussex Breakfast show presenter, Allison Ferns, did a live commentary on the vehicles as they crossed the line.

Over 3000 people visited the event on Brighton seafront, where vehicles were displayed following the finish, and other attractions also featured an electric go-kart track and the solar car built by Ardingly College and Ifield Community College that completed the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2015 and 2019.

The inaugural event was the brainchild of co-founders Tom Druitt and Bill Murray, and was put together by The Big Lemon to celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy technology, and to mark the transition of The Big Lemon’s fleet to electric.

Rally participants enjoying a well-earned pit stop at Ifield College, Crawley. Pic by David McHugh / Brighton Pictures 07768 721637

Sponsored by EDF, Britain’s biggest generator of zero-carbon electricity, the event also included key partners Fully ChargedEndeavour Motors (Polestar)the RACDrive ElectricR SymonsInterCounty Mercedes BenzZero MotorcyclesMoto-EbikesElectric Brighton and Novo Insurance. Charity partners included food redistribution charity Fareshare Sussex and the Martlets Hospice.

The Fareshare electric van charges up before the Rally start

Actor Mark Williams crossed the finish line in a brand-new Polestar electric vehicle supplied by Endeavour Motors, and Cedric Lynch completed the course in a self-built motorcycle created in 1991 that can do 500 miles cruising at 50-60mph!

The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Alan Robins; with Consort, Val Cawley; Chair of The Big Lemon, Ron Tanner; and Big Lemon CEO and co-founder of the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally, Tom Druitt.

The event finished with an Awards Ceremony at The Grand attended by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Alan Robins, with awards for the lowest energy consumption in each class. Winners were:

  • Ebike: Dominic Eldred-Earl
  • Motorbike: Michael Kendra
  • City Car: Darren Pullman
  • Saloon Car: Dave Dewson
  • SUV: Ross Henderson
  • Van: Ramon Rottier
  • Minibus: Peter Flynn
  • Bus: Charlotte Hautot
  • Self-build: Cedric Lynch

In addition, awards for most innovative, most sustainable and best presented entries were given to:

  • Most Innovative: JLC Electric Vehicle Solutions
  • Most Sustainable: Cedric Lynch, on his self-built motorcycle with his own Lynch motor
  • Best Presented: Ralph Messenger, with his original (and very polished!) Austin 10 van, converted to electric with Tesla batteries and drive system and complete with driver and co-driver in matching tweed
Ralph Messenger (left) and Robert Scott give a polish to their original converted Austin 10 fitted with a Tesla battery. Pic by David McHugh / Brighton Pictures 07768 721637

And finally The Big Lemon Yellow Riband for Best Ambassador for EVs and Renewable Energy was presented to InterCounty Truck & Van for their continuous and enthusiastic promotion of the benefits of electric vehicles and renewable energy and the importance of transitioning to more sustainable vehicles.

CEO of The Big Lemon and co-founder of the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle, Tom Druitt, said

“Bill and I are so pleased with how the first event has gone and would like to thank our families, our team Jude, Jo and Olivia, the team at The Big Lemon, our sponsors EDF, all our commercial partners, and most importantly all those who participated in the event.

“At the start we always agreed that the most important thing would be for everyone to have a good time, and judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces, we are very happy to say this first event was a great success.

“We are blessed to have met so many enthusiasts for electric vehicles and renewable energy, including a number of people who have built their own vehicles or done conversions of older vehicles. My personal favourites were the converted Austin 10 van, the three-wheeled Bond Bug and Cedric Lynch’s electric bicycle, which completed the whole route using less than a third of a kilowatt hour.”

“This event also marks the transition of The Big Lemon’s fleet to fully electric, and I hope that this and future events will help us achieve our vision of zero-emissions vehicles running on renewable energy offering affordable public transport in every community in the UK by 2030.”

Tom and Bill relax at the end of the night with Nelle, the youngest participant in the rally, aged 4 days

Celebrating the development of Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy Technology with the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally – tomorrow, Saturday 18 September

We are delighted to be welcoming the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally to Brighton & Hove tomorrow, Saturday 18 September, brought to you by The Big Lemon and proudly sponsored by EDF.

The first pure electric vehicle rally in England, the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally is being held to celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy technology (and to have a lot of fun!)

The event was due to take place in July but was postponed due to rising Covid cases in Brighton & Hove. Fortunately, recent data confirms that Covid cases are now falling in the city, so the event can go ahead.

The event marks the transition of The Big Lemon’s bus fleet to zero-emissions, which began with the launch of the UK’s first solar-powered electric bus in 2017, and will be complete this autumn with the addition of four Higer STEEDs and three Optare Versa EVs, adding to the existing fleet of eight Optare Solo EVs and an electric minibus.

The Rally Finish

Members of the public are being welcomed to watch the vehicles cross the finish line, from 12 noon tomorrow, Saturday 18th September. BBC Radio Sussex Breakfast Show host Allison Ferns will be providing live commentary as the vehicles cross the line.

Sustainability and Inclusivity

The London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally is also aiming to raise the bar for sustainable and inclusive events:

  • Public Transport category to promote sustainable public transport
  • Tiered pricing to make it affordable for everyone
  • Free entry for the public on Madeira Drive
  • All power generation on site is renewable, with biodiesel generators where necessary
  • Zero-emissions electric go-karts for children
  • Awards for the least amount of energy consumed in each class
  • Keeping the Madeira Drive cycle lane open throughout, to encourage active travel to the event and ensure we do not disrupt active travel in the city during the event.

The event will finish with a Prize-giving ceremony at The Grand with awards for the lowest amount of energy used in each category:

  • e-bikes
  • e-motorbikes
  • city car
  • saloon car
  • SUV
  • van
  • minibus
  • bus
  • truck
  • self-built vehicles

and for the public transport category the award will be for the quickest time and the greatest number of different modes .

Covid Safety

Event organisers have gone to great lengths to create an event that is as Covid-safe as possible with social distancing throughout the event. The EVillage at the Finish Line on Madeira Drive is fully outdoors, and at the prize-giving ceremony numbers have been restricted to 1/3 of the room capacity to enable physical distancing.

A Tribute to Freddie Harrison – a real Community Champion

Earlier today we said good bye to our great friend, and director of The Big Lemon, Fred Harrison.

Fred, also known to his friends as ‘Steady Freddie’, has been involved in The Big Lemon since almost the very beginning, as a volunteer, director and Chair of the Board of Directors between 2014 and 2018.

Fred and Tom collecting waste cooking oil from Beacon Bingo in Moulsecoomb – the first oil collection job The Big Lemon ever did

Fred was a big part of The Big Lemon. Having joined as a volunteer in 2008, Fred got stuck in, helping Tom with every aspect of running the business, from collecting waste cooking oil for use in The Big Lemon’s buses to planning funding campaigns for our transition to electric buses.

The first of our new fleet of Higer STEED buses has been named ‘Freddie Harrison’ in Fred’s honour

Fred lived in Hove with his wife Miriam and daughter Mia. A kind, gentle and incredibly generous man, Fred was a big part of The Big Lemon and made a huge impact over many years. He always had a smile on his face and was well-loved by all who knew him.

Friends and family gather for a tribute photo outside his house in Hove. Fred was a massive football fan and the bus was decorated in his honour with Spurs flags – the team he’s supported all his life

“I remember when Tom called me and told me about Fred’s offer to help with building The Big Lemon. We both couldn’t quite believe that this unassuming gentleman had landed at the doorstep with a willingness and quiet enthusiasm to help with anything to grow The Big Lemon.

“That act of kindness was Fred’s personal trademark. Everywhere he went in life he touched people with uncanny acts of generosity that helped them feel special. Fred stood for everything the Big Lemon is about – that people and the community are at the core of life. Farewell Fred .. we love you”

Ron Tanner, Chair, The Big Lemon
Tom and Ron with Fred’s bus outside the chapel.

In a personal tribute, The Big Lemon’s founder and CEO, Tom Druitt, made the following address at Fred’s funeral earlier today:

I’d like to say a few words about Fred, to honour him and thank him for his contribution to The Big Lemon and his support for me over many years.

It’s no exaggeration, as we all know, to say that Fred was one of the kindest, most generous and good-natured people one could ever have the good fortune to meet. When he retired from Glencore he got in touch and offered his help at The Big Lemon on a voluntary basis. We were a fledgling organisation at the time, not even a year old, and were hopelessly overwhelmed with the amount of work we had to do. 

Fred came over to the office once a week and helped me get on top of things; he was happy doing absolutely anything, from counting cash fares and banking, to sourcing equipment and parts for the buses, to observing our services on the road and recording punctuality data. Everything Fred did was done with a smile, wholehearted support, and his trademark graciousness that we all know and love. 

I sometimes wondered what he got out of it in the early days. He never asked for anything in return. He was happy to give advice when asked, but resisted offering it unless he was asked. He never said no to anything, and was always there at the end of the phone if I needed to chat about something. I grew to rely on him a lot, and he helped us make the business into (almost!) a proper business. 

Recently Fred and I chatted about these early days, and the penny dropped. Fred had worked in a haulage firm when he left school, and the owner of the company had given him a lot of responsibility, including leaving 16 year old Fred in charge of a fleet of trucks running the up and down the country, while he went on holiday for two weeks. Fred had enjoyed that, and seen how it had helped him in life, and now Fred wanted to give back. Fred was a huge support for us all at The Big Lemon, but I noticed how he had a special interest in our young people and their development in the business and in the industry.

Fred was a very committed and very loyal person. He joined our board of directors, then became our Chairman, and when he popped in he always took the time to say hello to everyone and tell them what a great job they were doing. He stood by me and our whole team through thick and thin, celebrating our successes and supporting us when times were difficult. We have had a few scrapes over the years, but Fred has always been there, no matter how large or small the problem, with a friendly face and a solution. Again, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the business would not exist as it does today without Fred’s involvement, his help and his support.

Good bye Fred; our community has lost one of its greats. Your kindness and generosity, and your impact on your community, will never be forgotten. You were one of a kind, a true hero, and I’ll miss you very much.

Frederick John Harrison: June 1951 – July 2021

Lots on in July!

Sunday Walks starting tomorrow, London to Brighton EV Rally on the 18th, and our AGM on the 23rd July

The Big Lemon London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally
The Big Lemon London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally is the first of it’s kind in England – a celebration of electric vehicles and renewable energy technology, and also the launch of our new electric buses!

Sunday Walks starting tomorrow!

The Big Lemon Walks

Following a break due to Covid 19, we are resuming our Sunday Walks tomorrow, Sunday 4 July 2021. We are planning monthly walks on the first Sunday of each month up to October.

We generally take the bus out into the countryside, walk at a leisurely pace for about 3 hours taking in the scenery and finish for lunch at a nice old country pub.

Walks are between 5-7 miles long and aim to provide good exercise in beautiful country surroundings without being too strenuous, though some walks are quite hilly.

They are suitable for all ages from about 6 onwards, though younger ones are also welcome if you don’t mind carrying them part of the way! 

Tomorrow’s walk is up to Firle Beacon along the South Downs Way, finishing in Alfriston. More info here: thebiglemon.com/walks

London to Brighton EV Rally

The Big Lemon London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally is a brand new event being held for the first time in July 2021, to demonstrate and celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Starting on the banks of the River Thames and finishing on Brighton Beach, the event is open to participants with electric vehicles of all types, shapes and sizes, with prizes for lowest energy consumption in all classes.

The inaugural event is sponsored by EDF, and will mark the launch of our new Higer STEED electric buses (above, right!). The new buses will be taking part in the rally, along with 60 other vehicles including a number of self-built vehicles. All vehicles will be on display at the finish line at Madeira Drive, by the Brighton Zip.

Entry is still open if you want to participate, and of course you are invited to join us on Madeira Drive to our new buses cross the finish line and have a look at all the weird and wonderful machines that will be on display once they have finished the rally. There will also be a chance to drive one of our new buses! More info here: londontobrighton.org

The Big Lemon AGM

The Big Lemon AGM will be held on Friday 23rd July at 10.30am, virtually through Google Meet. Although only Shareholders are able to vote in the meeting, we invite the whole community to take part.

We will be reporting on our transition to an electric bus fleet in Brighton & Hove, and on progress at all three of our businesses: The Big Lemon Buses; Brighton Horizon Coaches; and Seaford & District Buses which we acquired at the beginning of this year.

If you’d like to join us, please email hello@thebiglemon.com

Protecting children’s health from air pollution on Clean Air Day

Today is Clean Air Day and this year sees schools, hospitals, workplaces and communities across the UK running activities and taking action to inspire people to take simple steps to protect their health, their families’ health, and children’s health from air pollution.

In line with this year’s theme ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution’, we are demonstrating our support for action on air pollution and speaking out to show how much we care about building a clean air future for our children.

Air pollution affects your health from your first breath to your last, as the damage to our health can start when we’re a baby and carry on through into old age. But poor air quality is not a fact of life. Our air pollution crisis is solvable and there are simple steps we can all take to help our family avoid toxic air and cut down on the pollution we emit – it’s good for us and good for the planet too.

The Big Lemon is supporting a Clean Air future through increasing our fleet of electric buses from nine to 16 across Brighton and Hove. That’s facilitating over 1000 extra passengers per day to travel differently and sustainably around the city.

Traffic is one of the main pollution sources in our towns and cities and The Big Lemon ‘s vision is to offer the community access to affordable, sustainable transport, using zero-emissions vehicles powered by renewable energy.

The Big Lemon has been investing heavily in electric vehicles and will launch four brand new Higer electric buses at the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally on Sunday 18 July.

The Big Lemon is a founder partner in the rally, which aims to showcase and celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy technology.

“Following the end of most lockdown restrictions congestion and air pollution has returned to our cities with a vengeance.

“As we return to our lives, we must take this opportunity to create a healthy environment for our children where they can learn and play safely.

“I’m proud that The Big Lemon has been somewhat of a pioneer in Brighton & Hove, working with the community to bring forward electric vehicle technology to combat air pollution in our city. We hope to be able to do the same in many other communities in the future to realise our vision that in 2030 every community in the UK has access to affordable public transport using zero-emissions vehicles powered by renewable energy.”

Tom Druitt, Founder & CEO, The Big Lemon

Further information on Clean Air Day is available from the Clean Air Day website www.cleanairday.org.uk