NET trams 'not good enough' to justify another fare increase, say passengers

Andrew in Old Market Square waiting for his tram. He was wearing a grey hoodie
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post)

Nottingham residents have criticised the city's tram service as fares go up once again today. The changes, which come into force from Monday, July 1, will see most tickets become about 5 per cent more expensive.

Adult single journey tickets are set to increase by 10p, taking them from £3.20 to £3.30, a day adult ticket is set to increase by 10p, taking it from £5.30 to £5.40, and weekly adult tickets set to increase by 50p, taking them from £23.00 to £23.50. Meanwhile, group off-peak tickets will also be going up by 50p, taking them from £8.50 to £9.00.

And while Nottingham Express Transit (NET) has partly blamed the Government's £2 bus fare cap for the increase, many residents are saying the service is not good value for money. Andrew Hodgson, aged 49, says he has never had his ticket checked and that people who don't pay the fare are part of the problem.

He said: "A lot of times it's very busy. I was stood up on the way here and it looks like I'm going to stand up on the way back so it's a bit of a pain. I've started using the tram more often recently and the day tickets are decently-priced but the single tickets are quite a bit of money.

"I've used the tram several times and I've not been asked for a ticket once. There's a lot of people who don't pay, I'm not one of them because I'm not that type of person, but it makes you wonder why we keep paying when so many people just aren't bothering."

Commuters are often hit with several cancellations per day, with 10 services unable to run on Friday morning (June 28), for example. Jacqui Kent, aged 55, said: "It's a lot of money. I use the tram almost every day to commute to work and there are cancelled services all the time so I'm late to work sometimes.

"It's a bit quicker by tram than it would be if I got the bus, but given the price difference and all the cancellations, I think I'm going to switch to the bus soon. The tram just isn't good enough anymore."

Some people say the latest fare increase will deter them from using the tram, including city centre resident Polonia Tsoutsouraki. The 37-year-old woman said: "I use the tram once or twice every week because I live close to the city centre so I just walk everywhere most of the time.

"The increase is not good though because sometimes the trams are full and there's not many of them running so you just have to squeeze in the tram. It's horrible, especially in the heat.

"It's better now because all the students have left but when they're back again, it's horrible. You want to go somewhere and you can't, because there's no space. The increase will make me use the tram less."

Lynn Watt, who is 73, also said the trams can be very crowded sometimes. She said: "We are pensioners so we don't have to pay but my daughter and grandson use the tram.

Mrs Watt stood in Old Market Square waiting for her tram smiling at the camera. She has short blonde hair, blue eyes, and is wearing a pink outfit
Lynn Watt, 73, is pictured by the tram stop in Old Market Square in Nottingham city centre -Credit:Nottingham Post

"Services are often cancelled so it's not good. I know we're not paying but we still think it's a lot of money for normal people, and for students as well, like my grandson. We use it every day. Sometimes it's crowded and absolutely stinks. It's disgusting sometimes."

Brandon Harbinson, aged 23, added: "The increase can be quite annoying because if you're only making a short journey and have to pay £3 for a ticket, it's not very good. I don't use the trams that often because I live in the city centre but it used to be quite bad before when I had to use the service a lot.

"The conditions depend on the time of day you want to get on a tram. The service is usually pretty frequent."

In a previous statement, Andrew Conroy, chief operating officer at NET, said the decision to increase fares has not been easy. He explained: "Over the past 20 years, the tram network has become an integral part of life for the thousands of tram users across the city who rely on it for days out, their commute to work, or for travel to their place of study.

"We’re always committed to ensuring we provide our customers with the very best service. These recent fare changes will not only allow us to do just that but will also mean we can continue offering a convenient and low-carbon public transport option for tram users for years to come.

"Our fare adjustments also follow the ongoing external pressures we face as a result of the current economic landscape, high energy costs and inflation. However, we’re also facing ongoing pressures due to the extension of the Government’s £2 capped bus fares which other transport providers are able to reap the benefits of, but sadly don’t currently include trams."