Nottingham’s buses named best in the country

Two buses in a bus lane shaded by trees

Nottingham has been named top city in the UK for bus passenger satisfaction according to a major survey conducted by Transport Focus.

All areas across the country were asked by the government to create Local Bus Partnerships to ensure operators and local councils are working together to improve transport in their areas. The independent organisation Transport Focus completed extensive surveys in the 34 Local Bus Partnership areas to ask passengers their thoughts on wait times, bus drivers, value for money and overall satisfaction. Nottingham ranked as the best city, and the third best area, with an overall approval rating of 87%.

Councillor Angela Kandola, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for transport said, “In Nottingham we’ve long been proud of our fantastic bus network, but it’s hard when travelling within a city to get an idea of what transport is like nationally. The Transport Focus survey shows that we really do have some of the best bus services in the country and that the excellent working relationship between the city and the operators leads to high approval for passengers.”

“Although the Government’s Local Bus Partnerships are new initiative nationally, in Nottingham we have a long history of operators and the council working together to improve services. The council’s majority ownership of Nottingham City Transport and great working relationships with trentbarton and Ct4N have meant we can deliver pioneering city-wide schemes like Robin Hood, bus priority corridors and Nottingham contactless. But we aren’t resting on our laurels, as part of the Bus Service Improvement Plan we are delivering £27m in government funding to upgrade the city’s public transport network so watch this space.”

The greater Nottingham area came top nationally in terms of satisfaction with wait times and Nottinghamshire the top county with satisfaction rating of 82% and 74% respectively. This follows from significant work in recent years to upgrade the real time information network – taking the uncertainty out of wait times, designating 26km of bus lanes in Nottingham city and upgrading junctions for bus priority.

Nottingham’s bus operators also ranked highly nationally NCT ranking the top locally owned operator (3rd overall) and trentbarton number 6 out of 55 operators surveyed across the country.

David Astill, NCTs managing director said, “Here at NCT we take nothing for granted, but strive every day to deliver bus services that are reliable and frequent, operated by modern state-of-the-art buses, offer value for money fares and are driven by friendly and courteous team members.

“We are both humbled and delighted that our customers recognise our efforts through the generous satisfaction scores that they attach to Nottingham’s bus company. We thank them for their loyalty and custom and look forward to serving them for many years to come.

“It is also appropriate for me to express my gratitude to the whole team at NCT for a job well done!”

“The high regard in which Nottingham’s bus services are held is testament to many decades of close working between the local bus operators and the city and county council’s. It is a timely reminder of what can be achieved through working in partnership where there is the genuine will to succeed for the benefit of the bus passenger.”

Bus drivers ranked well too, with trentbarton officially having the best bus drivers in the country with NCT also ranking in highly at #8 out of 55.

Tom Morgan, trentbarton’s managing director, said: “An outstanding driver is what makes an everyday bus journey a great experience, so for our drivers to be the best in the country is a fantastic achievement and a huge contribution to the overall success of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in this survey.

“Also playing a vital role in this ongoing success is the common vision and teamwork between the operators and the local authorities. By working together, we are achieving bus customer satisfaction levels up there or ahead of almost everywhere else in the country.”

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “This is great news for Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City and we are proud of all of the work we have done together through our Nottinghamshire and Greater Nottingham Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP) to improve bus travel for people across the county.

“We are committed to investing in bus services and infrastructure and at the end of 2023 we announced over £5million will be invested to support, improve and deliver new bus services across the county with a clear focus on reconnecting communities and protecting services to boost access to education, health, employment, shopping, and leisure activities. Next month we will be launching our fifth Nottsbus On Demand zone in south Newark, which will allow rural residents to travel flexibly and connect in to Bingham, Newark and Bottesford.

“We are particularly proud to be ranked the highest of all of the ‘semi-rural’ counties in the Transport Focus overall journey satisfaction table.

“We know there is more work to do when it comes to bus service improvements and making sure that every community has access to a reliable and affordable service and so we will continue to work closely with Nottinghamshire operators and the Government to secure further investment to continue improvements for local people and remain at the top of the league tables.”

Matt Cranwell, Managing Director, Stagecoach East Midlands, said, “We are delighted to see Nottingham and Nottinghamshire topping the results of the Transport Focus UK Bus Passenger Survey for overall customer satisfaction. This recognition is a reflection of the dedication of our drivers, engineers, cleaning staff, and depot management teams, who work hard to deliver a safe, comfortable, and essential service to our customers every day.”