2021 starts with England in Lockdown, as the COVID pandemic continues, but NCT retains a normal level of service. NCT wins the CILT Environmental Improvement Award for its investment in bio-gas buses and Euro VI fleet compliance. After 20 years at the helm, NCT Managing Director Mark Fowles retires, with David Astill appointed the new MD in April. Gotham Garage closes after 95 years on 27th March 2021. QR codes and discount codes are introduced on the NCTX Buses app, along with contactless ticketing for all tickets. NCT Engineering Director Gary Mason retires in December, which is also the same month Mark Fowles receives an OBE for services to charity and public transport.
Trent Bridge Works are granted Grade II Listed status by Historic England. In app verifications for students and under 19 customers are introduced, allowing discounted tickets to be activated without visiting a Travel Centre to provide proof of entitlement. Between 25th March 2020 and Saturday 27th June 2020, a reduced service operated on core routes only, as NCT responded to the coronavirus and a 90% decline in usage as people are urged to stay at home except for limited purposes. NCT temporarily operates the Medilink service from Easter-June. Adult contactless pay as you go travel launches on NCT services in September, with over 150,000 'taps' recorded in the first few months. Managing Director Mark Fowles announces his retirement from April 2021, after 27 years leading and transforming NCT. An interactive fleet list is launched in December, showing on bus features and their location in real time.
Nottingham City Transport celebrate being the first bus operator in the UK to be crowned UK Bus Operator of the Year for a record breaking five times! At the UK Bus Awards, NCT has its best year picking up City Operator of the Year, Unsung Hero Award (Sheila Swift), Top National Driver (Jatinder Kumar), Services to the Industry Award (Mark Fowles) too. 77 brand new buses enter the fleet during the year, comprising 67 further bio-gas double decks and 10 E200MMC buses for Bridgford. The average age of the NCT fleet falls to below 5 years old by the end of the year. A programme of retrofitting an exhaust treatment system to diesel buses to reduce their emissions by 90% sees the fleet reach Euro VI standards by the end of the year. Nottingham City Transport begin to operate Park & Ride services again, serving Queens Drive (49) and Racecourse (44, 50) Sites on a commercial basis. NCT embraces the Open Data requirements of the Bus Services Act by publishing data on its website 9 months before the 2020 legal deadline. Nottingham City Transport’s customer satisfaction scores in the 2019 independent Transport Focus national bus survey are once again above the national average.
The Company celebrates 140 years of service. Following successful bidding by Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, the first bus is converted with an exhaust treatment system, which reduces emissions by 90%. The order of 53 Bio-Gas buses is complete, as the second batch of 23 start running on the 36 and 45. NCT once again achieves high scores in the Transport Focus research, achieving 94% overall satisfaction. At the UK Bus Awards, NCT wins City Operator of the Year; Environment Award - The World's Largest Fleet of Bio Gas Double Deckers and Top National Driver - Aaron Johnson.
The world’s largest fleet of Bio-Gas double deckers is introduced, with the first 30 of an order of 53, Scania ADL E400 double deckers entering service on routes 6, 10, 24, 25 and 44. These super environmentally friendly buses reduce CO2 emissions by 84% and attract national and local interest when unveiled in the Old Market Square on Friday 19th May. The long overdue redevelopment of Broadmarsh gets underway, with some NCT services relocated to make way for other operator services following the closure of the Bus Station in July. As Henry Blofeld retires from Test Match commentary, the first Gas Bus is named in his honour at a surprise unveiling outside Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. The NCT Pride Bus is also unveiled in the summer and takes part in the Nottinghamshire Parade. NCT is named runner up in the Local Public Ownership Awards, with Nottingham City Council owned Robin Hood Energy taking the top spot.
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 complement 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 OmniCity 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. NCT's Travel Centre moves to South Parade. 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…
31st March sees the Arrow Consortium sign the final documents to confirm it could finance, build, operate and maintain NET Line One. Transdev PLC achieve an 18% shareholding in NCT on the same date. NCT becomes the first bus operator in the country to introduce smart cards for travel, with the first "BusCard" cards issued on 4th September and 'go live' on buses from 18th September. Smart cards were introduced to reduce cash on the bus, improve customer options and because the former Easyrider equipment was obsolete.
The first low floor double deck enters regular service, the Dennis Trident, registered in March. Service 58 becomes the first low floor double deck route in Nottingham, with the frequency doubled to every 7/8 minutes on Monday to Saturday daytimes. The last Leyland AN68 Atlantean type of bus operates on service 84 between City, Radford Road, Bulwell and Snape Wood on 27th November 1999, with a special commemorative DayRider ticket made available to mark the occasion. NCT's website launches. Since the first Atlantean entered service in 1964, a total of 390 had operated in the fleet, including those purchased from South Notts and Nottingham Omnibus.
NCT services return to the City Hospital Campus, with the launch of the City Hospital Shuttle. These services 26, 46/A and 76 provided a regular weekday service to the City Centre then to Gedling (26), Carlton Valley (46/A) or Bilborough (76). Service 100 linking Nottingham with East Midlands Airport via the A453 launches on 27th July. The Pathfinder network is revised and integrated in to the NCT network on 1st November, which included linking the 100 Airport service through to Southwell.
Pathfinder (Newark) Limited was bought, giving a presence in the north and east of the County, as well as some services in Derbyshire. Pathfinder had pioneered the use of smart cards on public transport. The Arrow Consortium, which included NCT, Transdev, Carillion, Innisfree and Bombardier achieve preferred bidder status for NET Line One.
The first "low floor" bus enters service, a single deck Scania Wright Access. Sherwood Garage, which operated the Arnold via Mansfield Road services (now Lime 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.
The QMC Shuttle service 99 is launched, with buses stopping on the QMC Forecourt, outside the Main Entrance.
Colwick Racecourse Park & Ride opens in October 1982, operating Mondays to Saturdays at a cost of £1 per car.
South Notts Bus Co Ltd, based at Gotham, who had been providing joint services with NCT to Clifton since the estate was built in the 1950s, was purchased by NCT.
Erewash Valley Services Ltd. was integrated into NCT.
NCT contributed £50,000 towards a local transport study jointly with Nottingham City Council, which concluded that a light rail network was the most effective answer to Nottingham's growing congestion. A weekday commuter Park & Ride service on the 303 launches from the Forest.
NCT purchased Stevenson’s Bus services at Ilkeston and formed a subsidiary company Erewash Valley Services Ltd.
In April 1987, NCT services expand beyond the traditional city boundary to Chilwell, Long Eaton and Briar Gate (506) and Sandiacre (507). In its first full year of trading,. NCT turnover was £18.8m and the annual diesel bill was £1.3m. NCT are heavily involved in the development of midibuses, which included the acquisition of buses built by Reeves Burgess and Renault.
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.
April 1985 sees the introduction of Accessline, a 'very special bus service to help people who may find it difficult to get to the ordinary bus stop'. Accessline buses were smaller than most buses in use at the time, which allowed them to penetrate residential areas, including Basford, Bestwood Estate and Bestwood Park, Bulwell, Forest Fields, Porchester Gardens, Sherwood, Standhill Road, Strelley and Woodthorpe Grange.
As part of the Sherwood Forester Network, a CityTour is introduced to operate on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 26th May to 1st September. The tour takes in University, Wollaton, Bilborough, Aspley, Bulwell, Top Valley, Arnold, Gedling, Colwick Wood, Sneinton, Victoria Embankment and the City Centre.
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.
September 1982 sees the launch of Fastline, limited stop services from the outer suburbs to the City Centre. The first Fastline is 500 from Arnold, followed by the 501 from Snape Wood on 1st November. Major revisions are made to Arnold services, which included the renumbering and introduction of services 56, 57, 58, 59. With the exception of the 57, these routes are largely unchanged today.
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 Central Market Garage closes.
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 Company to Clifton Estate continued to employ conductors.
Bilborough Depot closes.
A disastrous fire in Parliament Street depot results in the loss of eleven double deck buses and total damage in excess of £1m. By October of this year, more than 90% of services were one-man operated.
The active fleet had reached its highest figure of 494. However the innovative Transportation Policy of 1972 started to be reversed following a change in political control, with the 'Zone & Collar' and Park and Ride services withdrawn and peak period frequencies reduced. This photograph shows a training bus from March 1976:
August sees the launch of the controversial 'Zone & Collar' experiment introduced by the County Council, who had assumed responsibility for transport following government reorganisation the year before. The intention was to reduce private cars entering the City between 07:30 - 09:30 and 16:30 - 18:30 on weekdays on the main arterial roads in to Nottingham. Limited stop Park & Ride services, using 18 'Lilac Leopards' were introduced to encourage people out of their cars.
The company name is changed to “City of Nottingham Transport” following the local government reorganisation that year.
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.The City Council's Transportation Policy of 1972 continued, with a phased introduction of increased peak period frequencies on routes from March 1973 through until March 1976. An additional 'Central Area' service 77 was introduced on Monday 30 July, with a yellow coloured roof, linking areas of the city with no bus services, notably General Hospital. A second Park & Ride service began from County Hall to Maid Marian Way.
The City Council adopted a Transportation Policy with an emphasis on public transport and reducing car usage. This included the introduction of 'Central Area' service 88 which linked the new Victoria and Broadmarsh Shopping Centres running at a 5 minute frequency. In November, the first Park and Ride service operated (Saturdays only) from the Forest Recreation Ground to the City. A coaching unit was introduced.
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.
On 29th September, West Bridgford UDC Transport was taken over by Nottingham Corporation. 28 AEC buses, 73 employees and the services (which were already jointly operated) were fully integrated. Centre exit doors were introduced for the first time.
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.
The first Leyland Atlanteans were introduced to the fleet, built to a Nottingham specification, on 2nd November 1964. The new bodywork was attractive in appearance and functional and allowed standardisation of parts between bodies built by different manufacturers.
Introduction of 18 high capacity rear engined buses, which were Daimler Fleetlines.
The gradual abandonment of the trolleybus system was approved by the City Council. The first service to be converted to motorbus was service 45 between Trent Bridge and Wollaton Park on 4th November.
The trolleybus fleet reduced to 140 by 31st March 1960, having been consistent at 155 for the last 7 years. The end of the trolleybus was in sight and whilst no services had been abandoned, some peak hour extra services were converted to motorbuses to avoid costly maintenance and repairs to trolleybuses.
The expansion of Parliament Street Garage commenced, after Nottingham City Council extended the bus garage and built on half of Stanhope Street.
Clifton Bridge was opened in March, with the Clifton services being re-routed over the new bridge. The South Notts and West Bridgford UDC buses continued to use Wilford Lane and Trent Bridge. Works services to Players, Boots and Raleigh began this year.
Heaters were installed in all cabs.
Guide dogs were allowed to remain on the lower saloon of all vehicles. Mechanical bus washers were introduced at the Bilborough and Parliament Street Garages.
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 Sheriff of Nottingham opened a new depot at Bilborough to ease the pressure at the overcrowded Parliament Street Garage.
NCT records its highest ever passenger numbers at 174 million. Services were extended to Clifton Estate. The last trolleybuses joined the fleet.
The first one person operated bus appeared, running to and from the General Hospital from the Old Market Square. The bus was an AEC Regal, with the driver collecting the fares at the rear doors before departing.
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. The last petrol engined buses were withdrawn.
The first new vehicles since before the Second World War arrived, a batch of Brush bodied Damilers.
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.
Loud speakers were introduced in the Old Market Square, which allowed the Chief Inspector to make announcements of 'traffic interest' to passengers!
Women were employed as trolleybus drivers to ease staff shortages. Passengers were employed as 'auxiliary conductors' in exchange for free travel.
An unsuccessful experiment to run buses on gas took place.
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 Carter Gate Depot (the current Parliament Street Garage Head Office). The Conductor was Inspector J W Vale, who was the conductor on the first electric tram to run in Nottingham.
The diesel bus had proved its worth and there were no more conversions from tram to trolleybus. The trolley bus fleet reached 106 vehicles, the largest fleet in the country at the time.
Compression ignition motor buses commence operation on 10th May. Bulwell Depot is converted to house trolley buses and motor buses instead of tram cars. Parliament Street Garage is extended through acquisition of Manvers Street Garage.
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. A limited motorbus service operated on Christmas Day for the first time. The first buses started serving the Boots Beeston Site.
In February, the St Ann’s Well Road and Wilford tram car service is converted to Trolleybus operation and extended to Kildare Road.
In June, the Parliament Street depot opened (known then as Carter Gate) 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. The arrival of trolleybuses sees NCT adopting a green and cream livery for its fleet, replacing maroon and cream.
Transfer tickets were extended to cover the Bagthorpe and Sherwood trams. The Woodborough Road tram line extended beyond the City boundary to Westdale Lane. The number of tramcars in use reached 200 and covers 25.9 miles of route.
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, as shown below in this picture from the late 1920s. The first motorbuses, three Dennis single decks, 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 and Cinderhill tram routes were completed and opened. South of the river, West Bridgford Urban District Council became a pioneering municipal 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 total of 135 trams were now in service, carrying 35.3 million passengers and covering 3.4 million miles.
A new tram line to Carlton Road opens on 16th December, terminating at Thorneywood Lane – now known as Porchester Road. The last horse bus service operates.
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. The motorbuses purchased in 1906 are taken out of service due to unreliability.
A new tram service between the Market Place and Colwick Road opens.
Solid-tyred Thornycrofts 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.
The Hartley Road tram line opens on 30th July. A total of 24.5 million passengers were carried on 105 trams, covering 2.1 million miles.
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. The total number of electric trams is 105.
On 1 January, the first electric tram ran between Sherwood and the Market Place. This was a 5 minute service, at a 2d fare. The destination indicator was a square box, with one side painted "Sherwood" and the other side "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, which was built on the site of the old Nottingham Forest Football Club's Town Ground on Bathley Street, where the last game played by Forest had been April 1898. Building of Bulwell Depot was completed in June 1901. 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).
By the end of 1901, there were 67 electric trams running in Nottingham.
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. The first vehicle was tested on 17 November 1901.
Nottingham Corporation are given the powers to construct and operate electric trams.
A proposal was made to electrify the system, with 8 proposed routes outlined.
- Market Place to Trent Bridge
- Greyfriar Gate or Canal Street to Mansfield Road via the Boulevards
- Wilford Road and Victoria Embankment to Trent Bridge
- Market Place to Sherwood
- Woodborough Road to Mapperley (Porchester Road)
- St. Ann’s to The Wells Road Top
- Market Place to Bulwell via Radford
- Upper Parliament Street and Market Street
Nottingham Council took over the Nottingham Tramway Company on 16th October, which marks the first date of public ownership of the Company
By now, the tram company had 38 tram cars, 16 omnibuses and 290 horses!
The tram company fitted electric lights in its offices for the first time and purchased its first telephones.
‘Summer cars’ – which affectionately became known as ‘toast racks’ were introduced. They were very low and seats were immediately above the wheels.
The Nottinghamshire Trading Association complained that horse trams were too slow and called for a quicker and cheaper mode of travel to be introduced.
Horse-bus competition on the Carrington line had been faced from Andrews of Carrington. The firm went bust and Nottingham and District Tramways Company acquired their 4 horse buses and converted them to trams.
A steam-tram engine was introduced, which was 10 minutes quicker to complete the journey compared to the horse tram cars.
Further tram cars were purchased, taking the total to 22 (19 single and 3 double deck).
11th August saw the next service open between Market Place and Carrington (St John’s Church). The Basford Line also opened this year, which ran from Market Place via Alfreton Road, Bentinck Road and Radford Road to terminate at Church Street gas works. The gradient going up Derby Road was difficult and steep and two cock – or trace – horses were needed to help pull the tram car up the hill.
The Nottingham and District Tramways Company’s first routes were opened on Thursday 17th September 1878, operating with horse buses. Two services operated, both starting at St Peter’s Church with one running to Trent Bridge and one to London Road via Station Street. These routes connected the two main railway stations of the day.