We still love our tram travel

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THE POPULARITY of Hucknall and Bulwell’s tram network continues to flourish, with more than 9.5 million journeys taken on the route last year.

The headline figure is revealed as part of a performance survey for Line One of the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) system, which opened in March 2004 after a succession of delays.

An extra 300,000 journeys were recorded on the line between Nottingham and Hucknall last year when compared to 2009.

What’s more, during October to December, passenger numbers leapt by 15%.

This was mainly due to the reliability of the service, which survived relatively unscathed as the big freeze before Christmas brought bus-services to a standstill and forced motorists to abandon their cars.

Despite thick ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures, efforts were made to clear the park-and-ride car park in Hucknall. A snow plough and a grit-spreader were bought to clear nearby entrances and pathways.

From November to the end of January, reliability and punctuality levels were high, with 99.4% of timetabled trips running and 97.7% of services departing on time.

Coun Jane Urquhart (Lab), lead member for transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “The fact that NET Line One continues to remain a huge success is especially pleasing as we move closer towards the start of construction of lines two and three.

“The extended tram network will be a means for further regeneration and economic growth, providing years of construction work that will impact on local employment and local spending.”

In a bid to gauge satisfaction with the tram network, a total of 1,542 surveys were completed by passengers last October with the highest number taking part — 15% — from the Hucknall area.

The poll revealed that Hucknall’s main tram station is the busiest of the 24 on the route, with almost a quarter of all passengers boarding there, compared to just 3.4% at Bulwell.

Overall satisfaction with the service at the tram station registered at 77% — a slight dip from 78% the previous year.

But overall satisfaction with the journey and service once on board climbed to 76% last year when compared with 71% in 2009.

Of those who took part in the research, 86% said they were satisfied with reliability and the ease of buying tickets, while 87% of respondents were impressed with the cleanliness of the vehicles.

The best-performing category was the friendliness and helpfulness of staff, with 92% of those who took part in the survey being impressed.

One of the main complaints, however, saw 51% of passengers interviewed unhappy with the price and range of tickets. The main reason for dissatisfaction at the tram station was the quality of shelters.