Hucknall and Bulwell tram campaigners celebrate as free travel for pass holders officially saved

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Campaigners from the Save Free Tram Travel group are officially celebrating victory after Nottinghamshire Council confirmed concessionary passholders will still be able to continue to use their passes on the tram in 2024-25.

Following a consultation held to gather views on whether changes should be made to the scheme, the council has confirmed that no changes will be made for the year ahead.

In total, 3,872 people responded to the consultation, with 92 per cent of respondents stating that no changes should be made to the scheme, which currently offers free travel on the tram to disabled, elderly and companion passholders between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays.

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Campaigners also lobbied both the county and city councils, handed in a petition opposing the cuts and held protests at trams stops, including Hucknall, where they urged passengers and passers-by alike to complete the survey and choose the option calling for no change.

The group held protests outside County Hall as part of their successful campaign. Photo: SubmittedThe group held protests outside County Hall as part of their successful campaign. Photo: Submitted
The group held protests outside County Hall as part of their successful campaign. Photo: Submitted

Des Conway, from the campaign, said: “There were 25 organisational responses, including a detailed one from our campaign.

"Of the 3,872 respondents, 2,479 were those with a senior citizen pass, and 415 were disabled pass holders, of which 148 were companion pass holders.

"These figures show that disabled citizens made up more then 14 per cent of pass holder responses, whereas they make up only seven per cent of total pass holders across the county, which demonstrates that our campaign successfully reached these particular pass holders.

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As a Travel Concession Authority (TCA), the council has a legal duty to provide free travel on local bus services for holders of a valid English National Concessionary Travel Pass, and this is funded by the Government.

The scheme will now continue throughout 2024-25 before concessionary travel powers are handed to the new East Midlands Combined Authority, after which any decisions on the future of concessionary travel will be made by the new East Midlands Mayor.

On the council’s website, Coun Neil Clarke (Con), cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “Our consultation on whether any changes should be made to the tram concessionary scheme ran from November 2023 to early January 2024.

“Access to transport is just one of the ways we hope to achieve a healthy, prosperous and greener future for Nottinghamshire residents, and so alongside our statutory duty, we also currently support passholders by offering extra entitlements such as free tram travel for concessionary passholders.

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“It is great that so many people, including 2,479 passholders, had their say as part of the consultation and we have listened to the overwhelming view that has come out of the consultation that no changes should be made to the scheme.

“I am pleased to confirm that no changes will be made to the scheme for 2024-25 and after this point, on March 31, 2025, it’s intended that concessionary powers as the TCA will be transferred to the East Midlands Combined Authority.”

Des added: “We would like to thank the trade unionists who supported our first lobby at County Hall, including Notts UNISON members and several tram drivers, the Labour councillors at County Hall, particularly Labour group leader Coun Kate Foale and Coun Penny Gowland and the various disability and senior citizen groups and the media who continually highlighted this vital campaign.”

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