Sunday, 29 April 2012

Nottingham's disappearing Tram

If Nottingham City Transport (NCT) is to be believed, The Tram no longer exists — it's gone — disappeared. Look at the extracts from the latest NCT 'Journey Planner' dated March 2102 (below left) and the previous edition dated September 2011 (below right):

Some Nottingham City Council funded 'Local Link' bus routes have disappeared too, although they still exist — which is how I came to notice that The Tram had gone. I was looking for the times of the L5 bus route that runs hourly Monday–Friday mornings and afternoons between Middleton Boulevard (although the destination blind always says 'Wollaton') and the Victoria Centre in the city centre via the QMC, Lenton, Castle Marina and Broadmarsh. I couldn't find the timetable or any information the NCT website. Knowing it to be a City Council subsidised service I went to their website, but could not find it.

Also gone from the new map are the Tram 'Interchange Points'.

So I emailed NCT on 8 April 2012. I still haven't had a reply, but then they don't usually reply anyway. I then did what I did the last time I had a question, I eventually contacted city councillor Brian Parbutt, the Chair of Nottingham City Transport, on 20 April 2012, but I'm still waiting for a reply from him too.

I also contacted Nottingham's Big Wheel on the 8th as well, who were very prompt and provided me with a well hidden link to the L5 timetable on the City Council's own website, which proudly boasts that 'Nottingham is home to a multi award winning public transport authority, plus 2 multi award winning local bus companies, bringing you an excellent public transport network with the highest levels of accessibility and use per person outside London' — a claim I do not question, but and there is a but, why then has The Tram disappeared from the latest NCT bus map?

The Big Wheel gave me their own explanation: 'With regards to the bus maps; the Big Wheel produces walking and cycling maps as part of it's package of support for residents and businesses in the Nottingham Area.  We do promote bus services, tickets and integrated
links, however, specific bus timetables are produced directly by the bus
companies as they operate the routes and have all the up to date
information about stops, times and timetable changes. We collaborate with
the transport operators, but as businesses they create their own bus maps'.

Given that Nottingham City Council are a major shareholder in Nottingham City Transport and funding The Tram as well, you would think that they would want NCT maps still to show The Tram route and stops?

Nottingham's public transport services are fantastic and I share the City Council's pride — which is why I cannot believe that city councillors would let crude, petty, 'market' considerations be a factor in what and what does not appear on their city bus map. Afterall, they show the railway lines and stations and are they not 'competitors' too?

If I was the city councillor in charge, I would be taking the money NCT spends on their 'Journey Planner' and using it to produce a comprehensive Greater Nottingham public transport map showing all services by all operators.  Transport for London can still teach Nottingham a thing or two when it comes to transport maps, so why not try and match their example.

As for me I am working on a comprehensive public transport map showing all services in the Lenton area. I hope to have it ready for when the students come back in September and have found some funding to get a few thousand printed, unless, of course, the City Council and NCT have a change of heart and do it before me.

A FOOTNOTE:  I have received a reply from City Councillor Jane Urquhart, the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport which she has kindly agreed I can publish here in full. Thank you Jane.

Thank you for your comments regarding Nottingham's public transport.

In answer to your question regarding the NCT journey planner map - NCT kindly added in the City Council supported services onto their map previously but as a commercial operator they are not obliged to do so and have removed them this time.

They cannot however promote another bus company's services, this would not be acceptable under the Transport Act 1985. The City Council does however produce an all operator frequent routes map and destination finder and have done so for the past 10 years. This includes, all bus and tram services that offer a frequency of 15 mins or better . This map is available in leaflet form from NCT's Travel Centre, libraries and the Broadmarsh Travel Centre. It is also in all of the City Council's bus shelters, displayed in the sheltercase or it can also be found on-line on our website.

It would be very difficult to maintain an all operator map for Nottingham ( more than the one noted above), having 10 transport operators in the City. Service changes happen almost monthly with one operator or another adding new routes or changing timetables and routes.

The tram route map used to show only NCT's connecting services and not the other 9 transport operators. The need for information about all  the connecting operator services  to be shown on the route maps has already been raised with the new  tram consortium.

Service L5 is a City Council supported service, information relating to this service has been on the City Council's website from its commencement, NCT linked to it originally from their website, but removed this link recently. Please find the link to L5 information -

I hope this has  gone same way to answering  your questions, we do try to provide as much public information as possible, and to improve where we can, but we are sometimes hampered by rules and regulations that we have to ‘work with’

Kinds Regards
Jane Urquhart
Cllr Sherwood Ward and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport

International news today:
Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Egypt and threatened to close its embassy and all its consulates in protest at a series of demonstrations against the arrest of an Egyptian man.
National news today: A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over theNHS's growing use of "lifestyle rationing".

Nottingham news today: A FORMER leader of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers has been jailed for four years for stealing almost £150,000 from a Notts charity which cared for elderly miners.

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