Since Nottingham Express Transit opened the majority of tickets have been available to purchase on board the trams from the conductor but all that is about to change with work now starting to install ticket machines at all stops across the network. This work will see both machines and ticket validators introduced in a few months time – after a period of intensive testing.
When Tramlink Nottingham were announced as the new operator of Nottingham Express Transit they stated that it was their intention to replace conductors with ticket machines and they are now starting to carry out this threat as they say it will help them to deliver a “world class tram network”.
Phil Hewitt, Chief Executive of Tramlink Nottingham, said: “Our intention has always been to help deliver a world class tram network and the new ticketing arrangements are all part of this process. We’re delighted that we’ll shortly be able to introduce the new ticketing arrangements which will also herald a new range of on-line best value smart card options. Obviously it will mean a significant change for our customers but we’ll be helping them get used to the new process every step of the way. The simple principal to remember will be to buy your ticket before you board the tram. The new machines will be simple to use and the process will be quite straightforward. Conductors will still be on trams for some weeks after the ticket machines are switched on as the new system beds in. The role of conductor will then be replaced by a range of other customer facing staff who will be out and about on the network, checking tickets and helping people with travel queries. As originally planned, our operating partner Nottingham Trams Limited has been able to redeploy all conductors as part of the continuing recruitment drive as we build up to the expansion of the network at the end of this year. In all, around 100 new jobs are being created for drivers and customer service staff.”
A major information campaign will be launched ahead of the introduction of the ticket machines to make sure that passengers are fully aware of the new arrangements. No date has yet been announced for when the switch will take place but NET have said they will be announcing this soon.
Nottingham Express Transit will join London Tramlink and Manchester Metrolink in not having conductors on board every tram. Perhaps interestingly conductors remain in use for the time being on the Blackpool Tramway, Midland Metro and Stagecoach Supertram with no public plans from any of these to change that. Meanwhile when Edinburgh Trams opens later this year tickets must be purchased before boarding the tram although “Ticketing Services Assistants” (I think that is a conductor to you and me!) will be on board each tram making sure that passengers have a valid ticket to travel.