“This is Shipstone Street. The next stop is Wilkinson Street, for ring road park and ride.”
This is just one of the sentences that I hear every day on my way to and from the City campus. Why? Because every day I catch the tram.
I live at the Maltings, one of the more distant halls of residence here at Trent. In fact, it’s more than three miles away from the City campus, which makes it a tad difficult to get in in the mornings. The tram is my salvation. Fast, regular and – above all – reliable! I’ve yet to catch a tram that is more than two minutes late and even then the network broadcasts apologies for the disruption. That’s a lot more than I could say for any bus company I’ve ever heard of. Not to mention the fact that it stops right in the middle of the campus.
It’s even reasonably priced, for those of you that are not blessed with a free pass. In fact, it costs pretty much the same as the bus for all day travel, meaning that you can catch the tram anywhere and anytime. I’d even go so far as to say that the trams are one of my favourite things about Nottingham.
However, all that is set to change.
NET, the company currently running the tram, lost the most recent bid and now has to hand control of the network over to competitors Trent Barton. Trent Barton are set to make some welcome changes – a line to Clifton for one – as well as some unwelcome ones. Unfortunately, the most prevalent of these unwelcome changes is the one that affects many students. Trent Barton will not honour tram passes issued by NET, meaning that yours truly, along with hundreds of other students and thousands of travellers will no longer experience free travel.
It’s not the end of the world. We’ll still be able to get into Uni, or work, or wherever we need to go. It just won’t be as convenient, or as pleasant. Most of us will probably have to use the bus (sigh) which takes a bit more time. It’s also less frequent, more erratic and a real pain. I can’t wait.
That’s in the future though. There seems to be some problems with the logistics in the takeover, as the takeover date has already been moved twice and at the moment is up in the air. Not even the friendly tram conductors know when it might happen, or even the changes that might take place. For now though, I’ll keep hopping on the tram. I’ll keep using my tram pass. And I’ll breathe a sigh of relief every time it works.