Nottingham City Transport ends the year with two award wins – Route One Large Operator of the Year and UK Bus Operator of the Year – with NCT becoming the first operator to be crowned the best in the country four times! Transport Focus Passenger Satisfaction Survey sees NCT score the highest customer satisfaction score in the country, at 97%. For the first year in a long time, no new buses join the fleet as NCT awaits the outcome of an OLEV bid for gas buses. The delayed announcement sees NCT awarded funding towards 53 gas double decks, which are due to arrive from Spring 2017. The NCTX Buses app is updated and includes mobile ticketing, allowing customers to pay for bus travel on their smart phones. The long awaited upgrade to the ticketing system is completed, with Almex Optima replaced by the INIT machine, which also sees the replacement of almost 50,000 Easyrider cards.
Nottingham City Transport wins the European Business Award for Customer Service, following a European-wide vote. Locally, the final Clifton Heroes are unveiled by Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood. NCT launch a remotely accessible intranet for all employees. 22 brand new buses arrive during the year, all ADL Scania E400 double decks. The first 7 – with smart paint technology 😉 – enter service on South Notts 1 in April. The remainder enter service on Turquoise 78/79 in the autumn. The last NCT Dennis Trident is withdrawn and they head to Transdev Blazefield. NCT picks up the Excellence in Science & Technology Award for social media in the Nottingham Post Awards. In September, NCT becomes the first transport provider in Nottingham to offer 100% free Wi-Fi on all services. NCT diverts Navy 3 to serve Ruddington to replace the withdrawn TrentBarton Ruddington Connection service. NCT and Nottingham City Council submit a bid to OLEV for 82 gas double decks. Alderman Pounder School in Chilwell opens up it’s Bendy Bus Library.
The centenary of motor buses serving West Bridgford is celebrated this year, with a birthday party on Central Avenue and bus 955 repainted into the traditional WBUDT livery for the year. 40 brand new double decks were introduced throughout the year, with ADL Scania E400 buses being introduced on the 36, 43, 58 and 77 routes after a public launch in the Old Market Square. At the end of March 2014, NCT introduce the first increases to some cash fares after a 3 year fares freeze. Double deck buses return to Orange 35 (last used in 2001) and are launched with a history tour. The last bendy buses operate on Uni 4 on 6 June 2014 and the Uni 4 and 34 routes are upgraded to double deck operation from September 2014. OFTSED rate the NCT apprenticeship training programme as Outstanding and NCT wins several awards to end the year. At the UK Bus Awards, NCT picks up the Bus Operator of the Year title for a third time (2004, 2012); Les Roome is the first NCT bus driver to win the Top National Bus Driver Award and the Gotham Garage picks up the Silver Award for Top National Garage. In other awards, NCT wins the Breaking Down Barriers Award at the Guide Dogs Awards for the work and investment to help blind and partially sighted people travel on buses. NCT are presented with a Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence to mark our continued support, commitment and involvement with the nation’s armed forces and reservists.
NCT started the year by expanding Sky Blue Line and introducing services 47/A, after Premiere Travel ceased trading. These routes see NCT serve Lambley, Woodborough and Calverton again after an absence of 11 years (previously served by Pathfinder until 2002). The first national Passenger Focus bus research saw NCT score the highest passenger satisfaction score in the UK, at 95%. After a five year trial, the ethanol project comes to an end. The first bus is named in June 2013, with bus 959 named Sean Upton. Warrant Officer Sean Upton of the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery died in an explosion while he was on foot patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand Province in July 2009. His dad, Jack Upton, was a driver for Nottingham City Transport for 36 years before he retired and was seen by the Company and his colleagues as a fitting way to remember Sean. Free Wi-Fi is introduced by NCT on Uni services 4, 31 and 34 and in September 2013, frequency enhancements on the 41 and 77 see these services increase in frequency to every 6 minutes. At the Route One Awards, NCT are named “Large Operator of the Year” and Gotham Garage bus driver, Barry Polkey, is the runner-up in the Top National Bus Driver Award at the UK Bus Awards. To end the year, the schools programme Safemark is renamed TravelSafe and NCT run buses on Boxing Day for the first time since the 1980s.
NCT are crowned UK Bus Operator of the Year, regaining the title previously won in 2004, at the UK Bus Awards at the London Hilton. We also win City Operator of the Year and our Social Media activity is runner up in the “Making Buses a Better Choice” category. Independent research by Passenger Focus shows NCT customers are amongst the most satisfied in the UK, with a 91% overall satisfaction score. David Townsend is crowned the first NCT Driver of the Year, following mystery traveller assessments and scoring 89%. The last original Dennis Trident double deckers are withdrawn from service, leaving long-wheel based 666, 667 and 668 in the fleet. Additional Solo SR buses arrive for re-launched Bridgford Bus and Yellow Line 70, 71. These new buses ensure every NCT bus is wheelchair accessible, 5 years ahead of the 2017 legal deadline. Navy Line buses to Clifton via Wilford Lane were enhanced in March, following the transfer of Skylink to Trent Barton. Gedling Borough Council award NCT 4-star efficiency rating for buses in their Ecostars scheme. Plans to relocate from the existing Parliament Street, Trent Bridge and Gotham Garages to a ‘super garage’ on Carlton Road are unveiled. Go2 Uni 34 is launched in September, with peak frequencies increased to every 5 minutes. Richard Whitehead’s Paralympic achievement is recognised by NCT, who name a Pathfinder bus after the gold medal winner. The Olympic Torch and HRH The Queen both visit Nottingham. A gas-powered MAN bus is trialled on Citylink 2 in the autumn. The Route to Real Ale, produced in partnership with CAMRA, Trent Barton and the tram is re-launched at the Nottingham Beer Festival in October, the same month new route 33 is launched between Bulwell and QMC. Michael Chandley becomes the “Clifton Hero”, as NCT celebrates serving Clifton for 60 years with a special Diamond Jubilee bus branded for use on Navy Line services.
The largest investment in brand new buses for a decade takes place, with £6.4m spent on 56 vehicles (24 Solo SR and 32 of the last Omnidekkas to be built). Go2 Red Line 43, launched only the previous year is the first route to receive new buses, along with the 11 to Lady Bay; 15 and 16 to Bestwood; 87, 88 and 89 to Edwards Lane, Arnold and Rise Park. James Hoole is revealed as the ‘voice of the buses’ and on bus stop announcements are introduced to customers, offering improved journey information for blind and partially sighted travellers, as well as people making new journeys. NCT unveils the Nottingham Electronic Bus Information System in September, with a public launch of the new system which tracks the bus fleet and provides customers with real time information at stops (thanks to partnership work with the local councils), a brand new website and APP and Android applications. The Big Orange Bus is launched in July of the year, with the Mayor of Broxtowe officially launching the enhanced 36 in Beeston Square. NCT’s Go2 brand celebrates 10 years of service on 1st October and is marked with a birthday party in the City Centre and the launch of new Go2 Yellow Line 68, 69 to Basford and Bulwell. Nottingham City Transport Ltd celebrates 25 years of service on October 26th, having previously been part of the City Council. The Company wins the Route One Operator Training Award and Gotham Garage wins Top National Depot in the UK Bus Awards 2011, where NCT is named runner up in the City Operator of the Year category. NCT brands 2 buses for BBC Children in Need and a lucky winner, Richard Westman, who donated £15 to the charity, is given the chance to drive the bus.
NCT works with campaigners from a local Facebook page to develop and introduce new Night Bus N100 to Southwell. The frequency of 15 core routes was enhanced, starting with Yellow Line 68, 69 in March and then routes 2, 24/25, 28, 30, 34, 43, 44, 45, 77, 78, 79 and 89 following through in September. The first new Go2 route for 7 years launches with Go2 Red 43 to Bakersfield replacing Network services 23, 24. A further 18 brand new Scania Omnidekka double decks arrive as accessibility hits 90% DDA compliance. Turquoise Line 77 receives the first 9 in April and 8 follow on to brand new Sky Blue Line 45 in September, when former Gedling circulars 44, 45 are split to improve reliabilty. A new home has been found for a unique piece of Nottingham’s civic history, funded by NCT. A war memorial formerly housed in Trent Bridge Garage is moved to the Galleries of Justice. The first Bus Users UK Bus Surgery takes place in the Old Market Square in the summer. A competition is launched to find the ‘voice of the buses’ with 11 year old James crowned the lucky winner who then records stop announcements ahead of the launch of the new real time system in 2011. Bus driver Phil Rowson wins the first Seasonal Driver Award for NCT. The snow at the end of the year pushes NCT Facebook fan base up considerably and the “Save a Few Squid” campaign is awarded runner up in the annual UK Bus Awards Marketing Campaign.
New ticket machines – The Almex Optima – were trialled at the start of the year and after a successful pilot were rolled out across all buses by September. Skylink Nottingham celebrated its fifth birthday in May, having carried 1.9 million customers since launch in 2004. £3.45m worth of new buses were introduced onto Go2 Navy route 48 between City and Clifton, followed by further investment in new double deck buses for Citylink 1, which NCT retained for a further 5 years after successfully winning the contract for the Park and Ride and Skylink services. Former Yellow Line Solo 248 was transformed into a Mobile Travel Centre, visiting local town centres and events to promote Nottingham City Transport in the community. South Notts “The One” was launched in September, and marked a 100% conversion of the fleet to low floor. Easyrider and Citycard merged to offer one card with hundreds of benefits to all residents of Nottingham. A new Beer by Bus and Tram Guide was launched, in conjunction with CAMRA and partnership with the Royal Centre and Theatre Royal Nottingham saw the introduction of the Royal Ticket, a £1 return ticket to get to and from the theatre. The year ended with Nottingham City Transport picking up the “Winning New Customers” award at the UK Bus Awards 2009, for the West Bridgford Go2 launch campaign.
NCT starts trialling 3 ethanol powered buses on route 30 between the City and Wollaton, in partnership with EMDA and Nottingham City Council. These are the first ethanol powered buses to run in the UK. NCT bus patronage increases to over 50 million passenger journeys. £4.5m invested in 36 brand new buses for West Bridgford, St Ann’s and Pathfinder services. NCT wins the BAA Heathrow Integration Award with Unilink and is runner up with Easyrider & Citycard in the Department for Transport Award Winning New Customers at the UK Bus Awards.
£3m invested in new buses for routes 21, 23, 24 and 36. The Newark Garage is closed, with services transferred to Nottingham’s Trent Bridge Garage. The first stand up comedy act to be performed on a Nottingham bus takes place in May as part of the GOJO campaign to get more young people using public transport. The first 11 NCT managers graduate with their Foundation Degree in Business Management.
In March, South Notts celebrated its 80th birthday. NCT and Challenge Consulting were finalists in the 2006 National Training
Awards scheme after winning the regional title. TGWU drivers strike. In October, the NCT Go2 brand celebrated 5 years of operation and a new logo was launched for the occasion. First teenagers sign Acceptable Behaviour Contracts with police (ABC’s).
NCT pledges a single deck bus to Asia Bus Response, a UK-wide bus industry appeal helping to rebuild communities and livelihoods in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, countries worst-hit by the Asian tsunami. NCT launch Safemark campaign with schools. £2m invested in 17 new double deck buses for Red Go2 route 44, 45. The first 100 NCT employees receive their NVQ Road Transport Award. Unilink is launched in partnership with NTU and Nottingham City Council, running between the City and Clifton NTU Campuses. Easyrider Anytime is runner up in the Innovation Category at the UK Bus Awards.
Public transport in Nottingham is revolutionised with the launch of Nottingham’s tram in March. NCT launches new bus services in Bulwell area to compliment the tram and NCT Easyrider and all day tickets are interchangeable on both NCT buses and trams. CCTV is launched on NCT buses. NCT launches Easyrider Anytime cards and young person’s Easyrider (now known as Easyrider <18). NCT win Bus Operator of the Year 2004 at the Bus Industry Awards. The prestigious Citylink 1, 2 and Skylink contracts are won by NCT.
Concessionary travel entitlement for men is brought in line with women as male eligibility reduces to 60. The first Scania OmnCity single decks in the UK are introduced to regular service on service 35 between City and Bulwell. New Scania OmniDekka buses are introduced on NCT Go2 routes 17, 48 and 77. NCT are short-listed for 2 awards at the Bus Industry Awards – Employee of the Year and The Eureka Award.
NCT introduces bendy buses to Nottingham, running on service 58 between City and Arnold. ACIS Real-time bus system trialled on route 11. As new NCT network reaches 1 year milestone, patronage has increased by 1.5% – the first increase in NCT passenger numbers for 50 years.
In September, NCT introduced the Go2 and Network brands. Go2 services boast a 10 minute daytime frequency. The City Council remained 100% owners until 5% of the ordinary shares, and convertible preference shares to a possible value of another 13% of ordinary shares, were issued to Transdev Plc on 11 May 2001, a member (along with NCT) of the Arrow consortium. The Arrow consortium was formed to facilitate the NET (Nottingham Express Transit), a return of the tram to the streets of Nottingham . What comes around, goes around…
Pathfinder ( Newark ) Limited was bought, giving a presence in the north of the County. Both South Notts and Pathfinder fleet names and liveries are retained within the company.
Sherwood Garage, which operated the Arnold via Mansfield Road services (now Line Line), Linkline 53 between Arnold and Clifton along the Ring Road and Forest Park and Ride service 303, closed on 15th October. All services were transferred to Parliament Street Garage, which had expanded following the purchase of former “Cowies” car showroom next door.
South Notts was purchased, giving a main route from Nottingham to Loughborough and a garage at Gotham.
Erewash Valley Services Ltd. was integrated into NCT.
NCT purchased Stevenson’s Bus services at Ilkeston and formed a subsidiary company Erewash Valley Services Ltd.
Nottingham City Transport Limited begins trading on 26th October this year. All services are now one person operated following the conversion of the Clifton Estate routes.
The 1985 Transport Act passes through Parliament and receives Royal Assent. This piece of legislation abolishes route licensing and allows any bus operator to compete with NCT on the City network on which NCT has enjoyed ‘protection’ for the past 55 years. This Act also requires the City of Nottingham Transport Department to be set up as an arms-length private limited company and Nottingham City Council becomes the sole shareholder of Nottingham City Transport Limited.
A new cross-city service is introduced linking Wollaton to Gedling via Netherfield every 15 minutes. Services 20, 21, 22 are jointly operated with Trent.
The Easyrider travel card is launched offering 14 days and 28 days pre-paid discounted travel across the network. 12,000 individuals purchase a card for regular travel in the first year.
The Derby Road services are revised and improved to cater for the Queen’s Medical Centre which fully opens in this year. The NCT network finally takes in Wollaton when the frequent Carlton – Wollaton Park service via Ilkeston Road is extended to Balloon Wood flats via Wollaton Road and Wollaton Village.
The conversion of services to one person operation is almost complete. Only the joint services with South Notts Bus Co. to Clifton Estate continued to employ conductors.
A disastrous fire in Parliament Street depot results in the loss of eleven double deck buses and total damage in excess of £1m
The company name is changed to “City of Nottingham Transport”
The Autofare ‘no change’ ticketing system is introduced on the Hucknall Road and Edwards Lane services. The quicker boarding times prove a success and the system is soon adopted across the network.
November saw the first Park and Ride service operated.
In January, the first one-man operated double deck bus started running and the policy of phasing out conductors to adopt one man operation began.
West Bridgford UDC Transport undertaking came under Nottingham ’s control.
Nottingham’s last trolleybuses ran in 1966, marking the end of 39 years service in the City. The last routes were the 36 and 37 between the Old Market Square, Victoria Station, Mansfield Road and Nottingham Road, which finished on 30th June 1966. Nottingham Road had been the first trolleybus service to be introduced in 1927.
Introduction of high capacity rear engined buses, with a new style body work built to Nottingham specification.
Clifton Bridge was opened in March, with the Clifton services being re-routed over the bridge, this also was the start of the works services to Players, Boots and Raleigh.
Heaters were installed in all cabs.
Guide dogs were allowed to remain on the lower saloon of all vehicles.
Staff recruitment problems surfaced. Newspaper ads and cards in bus windows had little effect, applicants over 40 years of age were now accepted, with the revised maximum age being 55. Some success was gained in employing students as conductors during their vacation. Vandalism rose its ugly head with employees being offered £10 to bring to notice cases of seat slashing which led to a conviction.
The first one person operated bus appeared, running to/from the General Hospital.
By the end of the 1950, trolley buses were in decline, the last new trolley bus joining the fleet in 1952 reaching a maximum fleet of 155 vehicles.
During the severe winter serious flooding occurs when the snow and ice begin to thaw in the middle of March. Both the River Leen and Trent burst their banks and for several days the West Bridgford services can only operate from the City as far as Trent Bridge. Wilford Road is flooded as is Derby Road at Hillside meaning services to those areas have to be cancelled.
The war brought reduced services, and economy measures (including the trying of diluting diesel with creosote!) and blackout screens on vehicles. It wasn’t until after the war, that large deliveries of diesel buses took place, allowing the withdrawal of the last petrol engined buses.
The trams finally gave way to progression with the last tram running on 6th September between Daybrook Square and Cater Gate Depot (the current Parliament Street Garage Head Office).
The diesel bus had proved its worth and there were no more conversions from tram to trolleybus. The trolley bus fleet having reached its peak at 106 vehicles the largest fleet in the country.
The summer, saw the issue of straw hats to all drivers and the introduction of late night services from dances, with some principal routes extended until 11.20pm.
In June, the Parliament Street depot opened and is still used by NCT today. Goose Fair moved from the Market Square to the Forest site.
After a visit to Birmingham in 1924 it was recommended to replace a single tramline route with trolleybuses. The first trolley bus operating in Nottingham was on 10 April 1927 and served Nottingham Road to Basford. The Derby Road tram line extended to Wollaton Park gates.
Transfer tickets were extended to cover the Bagthorpe and Sherwood trams. The Woodborough Road tram line extended beyond the City boundary to Westdale Lane.
Ten motorbuses are purchased from Barton’s and NCT becomes the sole operator on the Beeston – City corridor.
An additional tram shed is built in the Meadows on the opposite side of Turney Street to the existing tram shed. At this point the original building becomes used as the Trent Bridge Central Works. The first motorbuses are purchased since the failed Carlton Road motorbus experiment was halted in 1908. Three new buses ware used on a service linking the Bagthorpe and Waverley Street areas to the main line tram network.
On 18 January 1919, Child fares were introduced for a 1/2d. The number of standing passengers was limited to 10.
Driver medicals were introduced, after a driver dropped dead at Bulwell before he took his car out. Sun and rain blinds were introduced to help give the drivers some protection from the weather. The Sherwood tram line was extended through to Arnold and the first female conductress was employed in October 1915.
The Carlton Road line is extended to Carlton and the new Derby Road tram route was completed and opened. South of the river, West Bridgford Urban District Council became a pioneering municpal motor bus operator introducing services from Trent Bridge (connecting with trams to the City) to Radcliffe Road, Musters Road and Loughborough Road.
Nottingham Corporation were granted trolley vehicle operating powers on 15th August, however it would be 14 years before the first trolleybus service started running.
Service numbers were introduced for the first time on to the tram services. These were: 1 Sherwood to Trent Bridge; 2 Mapperley to Trent Bridge; 3 Bulwell to Trent Bridge; 4 Basford to Colwick Road; 5 Nottingham Road to Radford and Lenton; 6 St Ann’s Well Road to Lenton and Radford; 7 Wilford Road to London Road; 8 Carlton Road to Market Place.
Increasing electricity consumption led to the fitting of meters to all of the trams. Following a 6 month trial period, electricity consumption reduced and drivers and conductors who used the least benefited from a share of the cost savings generated. A commemorative tram car – decorated and illuminated – travelled across the system to celebrate the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.
A new tram line to Carlton Road opens on 16th December, terminating at Thorneywood Lane – now known as Porchester Road.
An agreement was reached with the Notts & Derbyshire Tramways Company for construction of a line from City to Cinderhill to connect with the existing lines at Basford, allowing for through connections.
A new tram service between the Market Place and Colwick Road opens.
Motorbuses were first introduced on 26th March between the Market Place and Carlton Road (Crown Hotel). Two buses were required to run the service, a third kept in reserve. Track laying for the new line to Colwick Road via Bath Street and Manvers Street began.
The opening of the new Midland Railway Station resulted in the loss of the old Station Street Station and tram passenger numbers dropped considerably, leading to service reductions. Church authorities made several requests for Sunday morning services to be suspended, but this was declined.
In July, free travel for children under the age of 3 was introduced.
February sees the introduction of electric trams between the new Market Place and St Ann’s Well Road. Further tram lines opened to Mapperley (May), Nottingham Road (July), Lenton via Castle Boulevard, Lenton Boulevard and Radford Boulevard (September) and Wilford Road (November). The horse drawn tram line to Forest Road was cancelled at the end of April 1902 and the two tram cars from the line were sold to Leicester Corporation.
On 1 January, the first electric tram ran between Sherwood and the Market Place. In July, electric trams replaced horse trams on the extended line to Bulwell and in October, the Trent Bridge tram route was also electrified. Construction of a new tram depot at Trent Bridge also commenced. Construction of the new St Ann’s Well Road line commenced in October, this being the first new electric line (the others all being conversions of, or extensions of horse drawn lines).
Services were suspended due to ‘pink eye’ in the horses. Construction of the Sherwood Depot began in May and the first 9 electric trams arrived for assembly at the Sherwood Depot in October.
A proposal was made to electrify the system, with 8 proposed routes outlined.
Nottingham Council took over the Nottingham Tramway Company on 16th October, which marks the first date of public ownership of the Company