Behind the scenes at Nottingham’s tram

Cllr Sally Longford and Mike Mabey

Nottingham’s tram network has become a real success story with more people than ever travelling by tram.

NET ranks as one of the best performing tram networks in the country but sometimes things don’t quite go to plan.

Councillor Sally Longford, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services and Local Transport, visited Mike Mabey, Head of Operations, at NET’s control room in Wilkinson Street to find out more.

Cllr Longford: We see a lot in the media about tram delays – what are the facts?

Mike Mabey: Statistics show 97 per cent of services in Nottingham run on time, which compares very favourably with other tram networks. For example, in 2017 there were 335,000 trips, of which 316,000 were on time.

Every effort is made to avoid disruption and ensure any delays are kept to the absolute minimum. Normal services usually resume within around 20 minutes.

Being at the heart of Nottingham’s transport network we are very high-profile and, in today’s age of social media and 24/7 news, even minor incidents can create the impression there’s more disruption than there actually is.

What can cause delays?

Around three quarters of incidents are caused by factors completely outside our control, including road closures by the emergency services, non-tram related accidents or vehicles blocking the tracks. Also, when a customer is taken ill, we may need to halt a service and wait for an ambulance. These incidents all tend to increase during the winter months.

What happens when you become aware of incidents?

Sophisticated technology enables us to quickly identify any problems and engineers are immediately dispatched if a tram or infrastructure fault is involved. We never proceed with any journey unless it’s safe to do so.

Contingency plans are in place to help customers when issues arise, including arrangements with other transport operators so they can use tram tickets on appropriate buses and the deployment of additional staff onto the network to offer advice and assistance.

Customers value being kept informed and we provide up-to-date information through our website, social media, passenger information displays and tram stop announcements.

The tram control centre

Tram statistics

  • Serves 20 of the 30 largest employers in Greater Nottingham
  • Carries more than 16m passengers every year
  • Boosts the economy by up to £300m per year
  • Created around 8,000 local jobs
  • Seven park and ride sites providing 5,400 spaces
  • 16 services per hour in each direction
  • Each tram carries up to 200 people