I am sure that there are plenty of folk in Nottingham who know far more than me about these things, but it does seem a little crazy to me that the 1985 Transport Act still lets the City Council own a bus company, operate buses and run subsidised services, but that it cannot do these things together. Then, of course, there is the matter of Nottingham bus maps which I blogged about in April this year.
Another thing which amazes me is how few people know that 'electric' buses first operated in Nottingham eighty-five years ago — they were known by various names, including 'railless traction' and 'trackless trams', but their most common name was 'trolleybuses'. Nottingham's trolleybus system was one of the largest in England and lasted until 1966, by which time diesel fuel was cheap and bus manufacturing companies like AEC and Leyland were manufacturing reliable buses in such large quantities that they were cheaper than trolleybuses.
I grew up in Wembley and with trolleybuses. I used a 662 to get to work in neighbouring Harlesden six days a week. They were part of my childhood and rarely did a week go by without using a trolleybus to go shopping in Harlesden or to visit relatives in Tooting. They last ran in my part of London in early-January 1962. I remember it well. I was seventeen and just after Christmas 1961 it snowed for a week and I was busy being a teenager, out and about, at parties and doing stuff in between going to work. Then one day, I went to work on a No.18 bus instead, which simply had its Sunday service from Wembley to London Bridge Station turned into a daily service. Even then it didn't make sense to get rid of a form of transport that didn't emit smoke or fumes — my first job as a trainee animal technician introduced me to the awful consequences of smoking and inhaling diesel fumes. I looked after rats who were subjected to daily doses of both and then I dissected them for my professor to inspect (I left after two years having been party to the continuous 'verification' of the obvious once too often and found a job in TV shop).