The Big Lemon[1] is a bus and coach operator in Brighton, East Sussex. It is registered as a Community Interest Company.


Alexander PS bodied Volvo B10M in July 2012
East Lancs EL2000 bodied Dennis Dart on in Brighton in January 2011
Plaxton Pointer 2 bodied Dennis Dart SLF in Brighton in September 2013

The Big Lemon was founded by Tom Druitt in 2007.[2]

Initial service

After gaining an operator licence, the first public transport route was launched on 1 September 2007. Route 42X 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 scaled down the level of service, re-launching it in January 2008,[3] and to reconsider its operating model. From 7 to 29 January 2008, the service operated on a reduced frequency, ending once the original route registration expired after the mandated period.

Route 52

In September 2012 The Big Lemon successfully tendered to operate route 52 between Brighton Marina and Woodingdean which also goes to Ovingdean under contract to Brighton & Hove City Council.[4]

Norman Baker

Norman Baker

On 17 March 2017, it was announced that Norman Baker, the former Liberal Democrat MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, had been appointed managing director of the Big Lemon.[5]

New Routes

On 17 September 2017 , The Big Lemon took over routes 16, between Portslade and Hangleton, 47, between Brighton station and East Saltdean, 56, between Knoll estate and Patcham , 57, between Brighton station and East Saltdean and 66 which goes in a circular route around Portslade and Hangleton.[6]

Historic routes

Route 42/42A/N42 was The Big Lemon's first public bus service, originating from its service 42X. Service 42 operated from Churchill Square to Sussex University via Lewes Road. During the evenings the route number changed to 42A and served West Street. It would later be renumbered N42. The N42 charged higher fares as it operated from 00:00 – 04:00. In 2011 the company renumbered routes 42A and N42 to 42.

Route 43 ran from September 2010 - January 2011, focusing on student trade and operating from Old Steine during the day and Hove during the evening up to Brighton University's Falmer campus.

Route 44 was introduced at the same time as route 43 in September 2010, operating from Churchill Square to Saltdean.


As at September 2017 The Big Lemon operate six services. Additionally they operate a shuttle bus for Brighton Metropolitan College[7] Coaches run on biodiesel that is refined from waste cooking oil.[8]. Buses run on solar power and diesel.


The Big Lemon operates a fleet of Mercedes-Benz O814D and Optare Solo buses. The company is also temporarily using six enviro 200 and one Volvo B7TL Plaxton President until new solar powered buses are delivered to operate the new routes. The company also has five Volvo B10M coaches, three with a Van Hool body, one with Jonckheere and one with Plaxton Premiere, as well as an electric minibus.

The number of vehicles in total is 22.

See also


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 6075786 The Big Lemon CIC
  2. ^ Bright bid for bus franchise The Argus 16 October 2008
  3. ^ Lemon buses squeezed off road The Argus 3 December 2007
  4. ^ Council funded bus services just the ticket Brighton & Hove City Council
  5. ^ "Norman Baker joins The Big Lemon as Managing Director for Brighton and Hove". The Big Lemon. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Bus Services". The Big Lemon. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "Bus Services". The Big Lemon. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  8. ^ Biodiesel from Waste Cooking Oil The Big Lemon

External links

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