Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Divorce is hard on everyone

Posted in Commuter, Customer service, Great Britain, Metro by Chairman Pip on 19 December 2011

And so, now that the divorce is final, it’s time to try and win the love of the children. What do I mean? Well, as of Friday 16th December, responsibility for operating Nottingham Express Transit (NET) passed from Arrow Light Rail/Nottingham Tram Consortium to a new concern called Tramlink Nottingham. Arrow Light Rail was part owned by Nottingham City Transport (NCT), the city’s municipal bus operator and, as a consequence, combined bus and tram fares were available, including an all-day “Cityrider” (essentially a Travelcard) for unlimited use on NET and NCT buses. However, the new Tramlink Nottingham consortium does not include NCT and so, as a consequence, these combined fares are no longer available. Instead, people that want to use the bus and tram without paying separate fares are being encouraged to purchase a “Kangaroo” card, which is the Travelcard equivilent offered by Nottingham City Council. This is more flexible in that not only does it allow travel on NCT buses and the NET system, but every bus operator within the Greater Nottingham area, the entirity of the tram system, plus trains running solely within Nottingham from any of six stations – Attenborough, Beeston, Bulwell, Carlton, Netherfield and Nottingham. However, now that the divorce between NET and NCT has been made final, we now get the situation where the parent that has lost custody of the children tries to entice the children with nice things to ensure that, even though they may not see them as much, they still prefer that parent. So, NCT have published a leaflet explaining the situation in regards to ticketing that has been posted on their website. This leaflet explains that the combined bus and tram tickets are will no longer be valid after the 31st January 2012, and that anyone who has one of NCT’s Easyrider cards with travel still on it after the 31st January should exchange it for a Kangaroo. However, it also says that using the Kangaroo when it comes up for renewal will be more expensive, with a price comparison between Kangaroo and Easyrider, with the clear implication that you’d be better off buying an Easyrider. Never mind the fact that the Kangaroo gets you on every single bus in Nottingham, while the Easyrider can only get you on NCT routes. But, the leaflet also displays a map showing NCT bus routes that can be used as an alternative to the tram, which are more frequent and more comfortable (allegedly):

With more seats available on the new 68/69 NCT double-deckers, you may find your journey is a more comfortable one! Plus many services are more frequent – every 7/8 minutes compared to the tram running every 10/12 minutes from Bulwell.

With the disconnection of the bus operator and the tram operator, this clearly is a declaration of war on the part of NCT in its bigging up of the comfort (debateable) and frequency of its services as opposed to the tram, as well as the fact that its prices are not changing, and you’d have to pay more if you want to use its buses and the trams. Of course, that doesn’t take into account that the Kangaroo can be used on, amongst other operators, Trent Barton and yourbus, both of which operate significant routes within the city. While obviously as time goes on things will settle down – I mean, you won’t have NCT and NET ticket agents stood next to each other, bashing each other over the head (a la the Metropolitan and Metropolitan District) – it looks like the initial stages of the divorce are going to be harsh and bitter.

The divorce between NCT and NET looks likely to be vicious in its initial stages

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One Response

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  1. Bryan said, on 18 January 2012 at 3:04 am

    Hey friend, I like your blog.


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