One (of many) things that always causes me to have a rant is the totally bonkers public transport system in the UK. It is totally fragmented with little linkage between services.
It is an old hobby-horse of mine that when in Europe all public transport is integrated, you get off a train or aeroplane and a bus or tram is waiting for you (and visa versa). In the UK the privatisation of our public transport has created a situation where profit takes top slot – convenience and service provided are low on the priority list – consequently adoption of public transport by new users is low.
In Nottingham we have a great bus service for the City run by the City Council plus the tram which currently has one route but is due some new routes in the next few years. Currently travel on either can be done on City ‘Easy Rider’ cards. A basic but welcome integration of systems.
But, with the addition of a new line for the tram comes a new operator for that system, no longer the current operator Arrow Light Rail, the consortium which includes NCT, as it hands the network over to the new consortium, Tramlink Nottingham, which includes rival bus company Trent Barton. So, what is the problem with that I hear you ask – well as it currently stands you will not be able to seamlessly use the buses and trams on the same monthly or weekly pass. The Cities ‘Easy Rider’ will no longer allow free travel on the tram.
I am all for the new tram lines, the City needs to have a modern public transport system and the tram is the way forwards. But to limit easy use of the system by a large number of pass holders (suggested to be 11,000) is frankly crazy!
That is only half the story though – the withdrawing of the pass has nothing to do with the operating consortiums – it is due to new competition rules that the Government have brought in to ‘protect’ us!
So in ‘protecting us’ the Government have actually added another potential problem to the acceptance of the use of public transport in Nottingham by the masses.
Yet another home goal by the Government.