Scottish Motor Traction (SMT) was founded in Edinburgh in 1905. The company operated buses in much of central Scotland.
In 1930, following the takeover of another operator, SMT started an Edinburgh to London express coach service. The company also operated an air taxi service with a De Havilland Fox Moth between July 18th and October 31st 1932.
As SMT expanded, operations were decentralised to local areas, such as Central SMT in Lanarkshire, and Western SMT in south-west Scotland (both with red buses), whilst the east of Scotland services operated as SMT (with green buses). SMT’s bus and coach services were nationalised by the government in 1949 and all bus operating activities were transferred to a new British Transport Commission subsidiary called Scottish Omnibuses Ltd., which continued to operate as SMT until the early 1960s, when the fleet name “Eastern Scottish” was adopted. Meanwhile the non bus operating activities remained in private hands as SMT Sales & Service Ltd.
Following the demise of the British Transport Commission in 1962, SMT operations became part of the state-owned Scottish Bus Group, which was renamed the Scottish Transport Group in 1969.
The Transport Act 1985 led to the deregulation of bus services across the UK, followed by the privatisation of the bus operating subsidiaries. Western Scottish (formerly Western SMT) was sold to local management in 1991, and was acquired by the Stagecoach Group in 1994. Eastern Scottish briefly reverted to its former name SMT. It was purchased by the First Group, who rebranded it First Edinburgh, and introduced its corporate pink, purple and white livery to replace the former green.