Nottingham City Transport Honours City’s First Female Leader Betty Higgins with Bus Naming

4 years ago Sun 27th Oct 2019

Betty Higgins bus naming with family and local politicians

City Operator of the Year, Nottingham City Transport has named one of its brand new low emission bio-gas double deck buses after Betty Higgins, the first female Leader of Nottingham City Council, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Elected as a City Councillor in 1971, Betty Higgins became the first female Leader of Nottingham City Council in 1983 until 1987 and then again between 1991 and 1993.

Whilst many other towns and cities sold off their bus companies, Betty had the foresight to keep Nottingham City Transport in public ownership with NCT one of only a handful of council-owned bus companies left in the country.

It is one of Betty’s lasting legacies that NCT is a national award-winning bus company that’s a key part of the city’s excellent public transport system, used by more people each year.

Through its public ownership, Nottingham City Transport is able to provide a comprehensive network of services throughout the city, 7 days a week, whilst also providing a modest dividend to the City Council that puts its profits back in to council services provided for the residents of Nottingham.

David Astill, NCT Commercial and Operations Director said, “We are pleased to name one of our buses in honour of such a respected and influential former leader of Nottingham City Council, and are delighted that her close family were able to attend the naming ceremony with us.”

Cllr David Mellen, Nottingham City Council Leader said, “At a time when the rest of the country were selling municipal bus companies Betty had the strength and determination to keep NCT publically owned. A legacy which has had a lasting impact - and is one of the reasons we have the best buses in the country.”

internal commemorative panel for Betty Higgins

The bus naming took place at Nottingham City Transport’s Parliament Street Garage on 25th October, attended by City Councillors, Lilian Greenwood Nottingham South MP and members of Betty Higgins family.

Her son, David Higgins said, “We are all very proud that Betty achieved all that she did and refused to boast about it. Betty was always determined to keep Nottingham's buses in public ownership and was very proud to have done so. Having seen what has happened in other parts of the country, we can see the advantages of the Nottingham approach and the quality and cost benefits of a system run for the people rather than profit. She loved to live on a major bus route and would use the buses with her grandchildren when they visited”.

Betty’s bio-gas bus will operate on Yellow 68, 69 between City, Basford and Bulwell and is one of 120 bio-gas buses introduced since 2017 to improve air quality in Nottingham.

Standing down as a Councillor in 2003, after over 30 years’ service, Betty became an Honorary Alderman in 2004 and received a Nottingham Award in 2015 for her lifelong contribution to the city.