Bus services still need support

BBC graphic on DfT transport data DWK8p6sWsAAvy0j aa1001hMore information about the statistics found in a BBC report which analysed DfT figures about bus usage across the country.
Nottingham has seen an 8.1% increase in the number of bus miles since 2013/14 as is one of only 28/88 authorities that have seen an rise. There was a slight decrease in the number of overall passengers over the same time period (-0.2%) but this does not take into account the tram extension, so although bus passenger numbers fell slightly public transport usage is still on the rise.

Nottingham Post coverage

 

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Residents parking scheme comes in

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The order is now in force.
Permits should be out, but if you have applied and not received one, get in touch.

Following the lining being painted and the permits notices being installed, have had another complaint about parking on Wilford Crescent East and Robin Hood Way, which clearly shows the permit scheme is having an effect – and we’ve not even started enforcement which is now due on March 27th.
On Wilford Crescent East, not enough space for residents, especially when Forest are playing at home.
Robin Hood Way issues now appear to be –
– parking on grass, particularly proximate to tram stop;
– parking near Soudan Drive junction obscuring pedestrians’ view; we’re proposing extra signage, but a resident, who uses a disability scooter, can’t see well enough;
– parking (possibly not legal) too near to inbound Thrumpton Drive bus stop is stopping NCT buses getting in to serve less mobile passengers properly;
– heavy parking near the Houseman Gardens junction, which is causing some alarm to older people seeking to cross the road; (I’ve also received a suggestion of more yellow lines around that junction);
We will consider all possible changes that might be needed after implementation of the permits in full.

Lilian launches Nottingham’s new electric bus fleet

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A new fleet to support new services, including the new park & ride link to the 2 city centre shopping centres, starting in January.
Celebrated by winning posters from 10 pupils at Welbeck primary school, who have each had a bus named after them!
Fuller write-up by Nottingham Post available.
Some more photos available in Facebook.

If it seems smooth today, it’s because of the conviction and steel shown by those from the ’70s, who are most defibned by their belief in local public ownership. Cos –
The controversy was in the mid-seventies – when radical policies were first introduced – e.g. Bus lanes and zone and collar;
The controversy was in the mid-80’s when the City District rates wre doubled to provide free travel on buses for the elderly; (a national first);
The controversy was in the 90’s, using reserves to put Bulwell and Mansfield back on the railway map;
The controversy was pushing for a tram to serve the busiest bus corridor in the city;
The controversy was creating a clear zone in the city centre and re-organising the NCT buses (unchanged for decades), and more bus lanes;
The controversy was introducing a congestion charge so that commuter in cars paid for improvements to public transport, not the people who live in the city and suffered the commuting;
The controversy was expanding the tram system in the last few years when people projected an increase in deaths and injuries.
What seems like seemless now is cos of the values, vision and struggle from those of our recent and not quite so recent past.
Some of the names may surprise you – Frank Higgns, Betty Higgins, Terry Butler, John Taylor, Brian Parbutt, and there will be others.

New Skylink Express service to EMA

IMG_9644ta0580h TB Skylink Express.pngTrent Barton are to re-introduce a more direct Nottingham to East Midlands service from 31st January.
A half-hourly 35 minute service with a new fleet of coaches, and starting at Broadmarsh, calling at Nottingham Midland station, Trent Bridge (but at County Hall), NTU Clifton, and the NET park & ride at Clifton South.
Lilian Greenwood MP and I spoke at the launch and I told the stories of –
– how before Nottingham Forest were European Champions, we were known across Europe for pioneering bus lanes; including Meadows Way East and Carrington Street – one of the most successful priority schemes there is;
– political insight and resolve that meant we’d kept NCT in public ownership, and introduced free passes for older people and the less mobile, decades before the nations scheme;
– customer focus: modern fleets, drivers trained to look after passengers, proper shelters with customer information systems; branding so that the public recognise and understand where bus services run;
– travel planning and workplace parking levy – asking the car commuter to pay more towards making public transport, including by 2 years’ of investment to get this new service going;
– multi-operator ticketing, with the big hopper Kangeroo ticket and now the Robin Hood Travelcard (kinda like London’s Oyster).
Wider concerns too about reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and air quality – new worries over nitrous oxides and particulates, means NCT may be getting support for gas powered fleets for its double-decker 6, 10 and 48 services that pass through The Meadows.
More might be done with franchises, but there are risks and what I would most look for from franchises are requirements on quality vehicles and proper pay, pensions and conditions for staff.
A recent report, picked up by a Guardian columnist, has stressed municipalisation of bus services as the way forward, but it does overlook how private operators like Trent Barton are considered as one of the top 2 bus companies in Britain (the other being NCT); and how Trent Barton pioneered many of the customer focus initiatives that NCT were to pick up from.
Elsewhere, I might lose no tears if Arriva were to lose control of Derby, Burton and Swadlincote. But a much wider set of packages is needed to make a difference.
For now, the combination of political resolve, customer focus, helping those most in need and green outlooks means Nottingham are the bus champions of Britain, if not Europe.