IT may be a long way from Nairobi to the New Town, but the new boss of Edinburgh's buses has a track record with a number of unusual stops.

Neil Renilson takes over this month as chief executive of Lothian Regional Transport, the largest publicly-owned bus

company in Britain.

His last job was with Stagecoach, as chairman for Scotland and Kenya, a strange amalgam reflecting its idiosyncratic range of holdings. He worked there for a decade and left after the shake-up which saw its founders Brian Souter and Anne Gloag relinquish day-to-day responsibilities over the bus interests.

Renilson, 43, started out as an office worker for Edinburgh Corporation, becoming a bus conductor then a driver. A degree in transport management and planning and subsequent moves took him to the National Bus Company in England before returning as managing director of Strathtay buses in 1987.

Edinburgh's heavy reliance on buses, public control of LRT, and political support to increase usage in the wake of the Government's White Paper makes his #100,000 a year job a bit different from others he has done.

''It is a unique opportunity,'' Renilson said. ''If you are trying to run buses in an English city where they see them as transport of last resort for the socially disadvantaged, and are more concerned with providing multi-storey car parks and ring roads, then clearly the political climate in Edinburgh is more conducive to making quantum improvements in public transport.''

''There is obviously room for improvement but we are starting off with a sound, well-run, profitable bus company.''

He said there was scope for developing services, buying new buses with better access for elderly and disabled people, and offering cheap off-peak fares.