Nottingham City Transport
Scania OmniDekka in June 2011
|Parent||Nottingham City Council 95%
|Service type||Bus services|
|Routes||112 (October 2013)|
|Fleet||378 (October 2013)|
|Chief executive||Mark Fowles|
Horse drawn buses operated in Nottingham from 1848. The Nottingham and District Tramways Company Limited opened its first routes in 1878 with horse drawn trams, and experimented with steam traction a few years later. The company was taken over by Nottingham Corporation Tramways in 1898. Electrification followed, with the first electric trams operating in January 1901 and within two years over 100 trams were in service on eight lines. The first motorbuses were introduced in 1906.
The Nottingham trolleybus system was inaugurated in 1927. By 1930 a number of routes had been converted from trams to trolleybuses. A new bus depot was opened on Parliament Street in June 1929 and is still in use today.
By 1935 the trolleybus fleet had reached its peak at 106 vehicles, making it the largest fleet in the country. The last tram ran in September 1936. World War II brought reduced services, economy measures (including diluting diesel with creosote) and blackout screens on vehicles. Before the war some diesel-engined buses were introduced, although large scale deliveries of buses did not take place until after the war. The advent of diesel services enabled the last petrol-engined buses to be withdrawn.
By the end of the 1950s, trolleybuses were in decline, the last new trolleybus joining the fleet in 1952 reaching a maximum fleet of 155 vehicles. The first one-man operated bus appeared in 1951. Trolleybuses were withdrawn between April 1965 and July 1966, and the West Bridgford UDC Transport undertaking came under Nottingham's control in 1968. One-man operation started to come into force in January 1970 and by 1977 nearly all services were one-man operated. In 1974 it was renamed City of Nottingham Transport and by 1976 an all-time peak of 494 operated vehicles was reached.
To comply with the Transport Act 1985, in 1986 the assets were transferred to a new legal entity. In 1988 Stevenson's Bus Services, Ilkeston was purchased and formed a subsidiary company. Erewash Valley Services Limited. These services were integrated with the main company in 1990.
In 1991 South Notts Bus Company was purchased for £1, giving NCT a route from Nottingham to Loughborough and a garage at Gotham. In 1997 Pathfinder (Newark) Limited was purchased, giving NCT a presence in the north of the county. Fleet names are retained within the company but both South Notts and Pathfinder liveries are now extinct.
Despite many offers to sell, Nottingham City Council retained 100% ownership in NCT until May 2001, when 5% of the shares were issued to Transdev. This was related to the Nottingham Express Transit operating contract being awarded to Transdev.
Real Time Tracking Technology
Nottingham City Transport started to introduce real time tracking technology as standard to all new buses it purchased from 2012. This enables the buses to be monitored from a central control room as well as predicted arrival times generated a bus stop displays. Furthermore, displays within the bus are able to inform passengers of the upcoming stops. New buses since 2012 also provide audio announcements that complement the visual displays, providing increased information such as advice on connecting services as well as being extremely beneficial to disabled passengers.
In 2007, Nottingham City Transport became the first company in the UK to introduce Ethanol powered "Eco" buses. Named "Ecolink 30", the service uses a combination of standard diesel powered Scania OmniCity buses and 3 specially converted ethanol Scania OmniLink buses on its Pink Line 30 route.
The ethanol powered buses are painted in a special "Ecolink" livery which uses flowers and leaves along the side of the bus to symbolise the "green-ness" of the buses. They also use the slogan "Go Green" combined with the information that they reduce CO2 emissions by around 30 tonnes. The standard diesel buses used on the route are painted in the standard green of Nottingham City Transport "Nottingham Network" buses.
The ethanol buses are equipped with a colour LCD destination display, an LCD screen onboard which allows advertisements &/or CCTV footage to be played, a Star Trak GPS locating system which allows for real time ETA's to be displayed at electronic bus stop timetable displays and also allows for the next stop to be displayed on the buses onboard electronic display (Above the "Bus Stopping" sign). The bus also has a low floor to allow for wheelchair/buggy access and is equipped with an extendable ramp to allow wheelchair users to board the bus when there is a gap between the bus door and the pavement.
The buses were purchased by Nottingham City Council using funding from the East Midlands Development Agency which allowed them to purchase 3 ethanol powered buses and construct an ethanol fuelling station. The buses are operated and maintained by Nottingham City Transport.
This trial ended in March 2013, when it was no longer viable to source ethanol. The 3 buses have now been converted to diesel and are branded for the Pathfinder service to Southall.
As at October 2013 the fleet consisted of 378 buses.
- 30 Optare Solo
- 35 Optare Solo SR
- 33 Enviro 200 (22 33 seated 10.2m and 11 40 seated 11.3m)
- 7 Scania OmniTown
- 47 Scania OmniCity
- 6 Scania OmniLink
- 5 Scania L94UA
- 3 Dennis Trident 2
- 6 Plaxton President
- 2 Optare Excel
- 84 Scania N94UD OmniDekka
- 90 Scania N230UD/N270UD OmniDekka
NCT operate three depots in Parliament Street, Nottingham, Gotham and Trent Bridge.
Nottingham City Transport have introduced many new bus models and transport concepts over the years, including:
- Converting the first Scania OmniCity for right-hand drive operation.
- Converting the first Scania OmniLink for right-hand drive operation.
- Introduction of EasyRider contactless smartcard, the first in the UK.
- Introduction of Ethanol powered Scania OmniLink buses (First in the UK).
- First Genuine batch of Scania OmniTown buses.
Nottingham City Transport have installed CCTV on all of their fleet, and install in general more cameras per bus than other operators. Double decker buses usually have around 10 cameras each, while even the very smallest buses still have 7 each. New buses also have LCD screens installed, so passengers can see what is being recorded.
NCT are active participants in Nottingham's Respect for Transport campaign, and random 'Gateway checks' are often held on buses, where police and revenue inspectors board to check tickets. Police have been known to arrest wanted persons on board buses during gateway checks. NCT has introduced a new campaign called, 'Quit the Spit'.
GO2 & Network Services
In September 2001, NCT changed most bus routes, truncating cross-city routes, and introducing new and retimed services across Greater Nottingham. Go2 was launched at this time to appeal to commuters and refresh perceptions of bus travel. Following a decline in patronage of over 50 years prior to these changes, the number of customers using NCT buses has increased year on year since.
On Monday to Saturday daytimes, Go2 services now operate every 7 or 8 minutes on most routes, (with the exception of Go2 Turquoise and Go2 Blue which are every 6mins). Sunday services have also been increased, with some every 15 minutes.
Go2 Night was launched in December 2007 and there are 8 late night buses which run from the City Centre at 01:15, 02:15 and 03:15 every Friday and Saturday night. These buses have a flat fare of £3.00 cash single, but they also accept Easyrider Citycards and all day tickets for no extra charge!
September 2010 saw the launch of 2 new Go2 routes, the first for many years, with Red 43 introduced for Bakersfield and Sky Blue 45 introduced to replace the former Red 44/45 loops which had proven very unreliable due to the traffic and rail crossings.
In 2011, the Go2 brand received minor rebranding to mark its 10th Year. This included a special 10th Year Go2 logo on relivered buses. The 36 underwent rebranding with the 27, 43 and 89 also when they received their new OmniDekkas. These Omnidekkas were the last produced with Optare ceasing their manufacture at their new plant.
In July 2011, Go2 Lilac 21 was withdrawn and replaced by service 39 following the same route. Optare Versas replaced Scania Omnicities on this route.
In October 2011, NCT made Yellow 68/69 back into GO2 routes, with brand new Scania OmniDekkas with new features including audio announcements and real time tracking. This was for NCT to compete with the tram service.
2012 in Brief:
- Navy line service 1 – frequencies were increased to every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime's to A new night bus N1 was also created (since the skylink service was withdrawn) but was replaced in September with N4 to reflect the usage from NTU students).
- Green line service 6 lost its GO2 status with frequency being reduced to every 15 minutes. 11 new SOLO SRs entered service on green line network services 5, 7, 8 and 9 with new Bridgford bus branding. Currently (July 2013), the 4 OmniDekkas allocated to route 6 are currently being repainted and branded with the appropriate decals.
- GO2 Uni 34 was launched in September, with peak frequencies increased to every 5 minutes.
- Yellow line services 70 and 71 now terminate at Bulwell rather than Arnold due to ongoing reliability problems. Turquoise line 79 was extended from Bulwell to cover Arnold. Spare OmniDekkas were refurbished and repainted to allow for this addition with 5 new SOLO SRs allocated to services 70 and 71.
- Refurbishment and repaint of OmniDekkas allocated to GO2 Pink 28, GO2 Red 44 and GO2 Lime 58 routes began (Pinks were completed in June 2013, Reds are nearing the end with only 3 Lime currently done).
- The last original Dennis Trident double deckers are withdrawn from service, leaving long-wheel based 666, 667 and 668 in the fleet.
- A gas-powered MAN bus was trialled on Citylink 2 in the autumn.
2013 – Currently
- 33 ADL ENVIRO 200s entered service on network purple routes 87 and 88. Network Blue routes 40,42. Go2 Blue 39 and Network Brown 15/16. Displaced SOLO SRs were repainted and are now found on navy network routes 2 and 3, GO2 Uni 31, Network Orange 37, Go2 Blue 41. NCT also withdrew their entire Versa fleet due to reliability problems.
- 40 ADL ENVIRO 400s are on order – these will be phased into service from December.
- Following on from the collapse of Premiere, NCT launched Sky Blue network services 46 and 47. Four Optare Cummins Solos were acquired from Courtney, Bracknell at short notice.
- 6 ex-London Plaxton President Tridents have been acquired as spares – these are currently having some work done on them before being refurbished/repainted and entering service.
- Scania Omnilinks 304–306 are converted to diesel operation following an extended trial period using ethanol.
- Demonstrators – 100 SCANIA ENVIRO 300 (Compressed Natural Gas) was trialled on Citylink 2, 101 SCANIA OMNICITY is currently on long term loan.
- Omnicity's from Reading Buses 538–541 were purchased as NCT became part of a consortium (along with Notts+Derby and Trent Barton) that won the University of Nottingham contract to run Hopper buses for the Student. 5 Dennis Trident Myllennnium Lolynes have also been acquired from the Isle of Man for this service. All vehicles are stored and maintained at NCT's Gotham depot.
- Network and Go2 Spares became simply "Spares" and used across the fleet. (as oppose to one or the other brand)
- NCT started to install free WiFi on some of its routes in the Autumn of 2013, all Go2 Uni and Pathfinder vehicles were the first, with Spares 517 and 668 following.
Stagecoach in Chesterfield also serve Nottingham, operating the very popular Pronto service between Chesterfield, Mansfield and Nottingham, and the Sherwood Arrow to Worksop via Ollerton, Edwinstowe and White Post Farm.
Other small operators that operate in Nottingham include Doyle's Minicoaches of Alfreton who operate contracts on behalf of the council.
Although Trent Barton is a competitor, there is a fairly warm reception from both companies to each other, with the Kangaroo day ticket helping to bridge the gap between the two.
- Companies House extract company no 2004967 Nottingham City Transport Limited
- Companies House extract company no 2268720 Erewash Valley Services Limited
- Companies House extract company no 227446 DB (Gotham)Limited formerly South Knotts Bus Company Limited
- Companies House extract company no 1882298 Pathfinder (Newark) Limited
- Final Statement of Accounts 2012/13 Nottingham City Council 2 October 2013
- Nottingham Express Transit: who's who Nottingham Express Transit
- Statistics NCT Fleet News
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