Hucknall and Bulwell tram campaigners claim victory as council leader says free travel is not being scrapped

The Save Free Tram Travel campaign is celebrating victory after getting confirmation from Nottinghamshire Council that proposals to end free travel for concessionary pass holders are being scrapped.
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The campaign was started after the council announced last year it was looking considering ending free travel for concessionary pass holders which is says costs £900,000 per year.

The council began a public consultation with options being considered including half-fare payments, free travel for only disabled concessionary pass holders and their companions, and no changes.

The group lobbied outside the Nottinghamshire Council cabinet meeting on Februay 8 and had been planning another protest rally ahead of this Thursday’s (February 22) full council budget meeting.

Campaigners are delighted the council has confirmed free tram concessions will not be scrapped. Photo: National WorldCampaigners are delighted the council has confirmed free tram concessions will not be scrapped. Photo: National World
Campaigners are delighted the council has confirmed free tram concessions will not be scrapped. Photo: National World

But that will now be more of a celebration after Coun Ben Bradley MP (Con), council leader, confirmed in an email to Save Free Tram Travel leader Des Conway that the the council had ‘no plans’ to scrap free tram travel for concessionary pass holders.

Coun Bradley said: “Concessions will continue in 2024-5, there are no plans to cut the tram concession in our budget.

"The county is not cutting tram concessions – the meeting on Thursday is to discuss a budget that does not even mention tram concessions in any other context apart from acknowledging that transport responsibilities will shift to the new combined authority.

“We have never had a 'proposal to scrap free tram travel'.

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"We have had a consultation on options, one of which was ‘no change to concessions’.

“Again, there are no plans for the county to cut concessions because it is now apparent that this responisbility will pass to the regional mayor, something I have reiterated on many occasions.“As you know, and as has already been published in the press, all three main mayoral candidates including myself have all committed that they will protect tram concessions.

"So tram concessions are not going anywhere, we're not scrapping it.

"Both us and the city are passing the responsibility to the Transport Authority and the mayor from the following financial year 2025-6, and all the mayoral candidates have said they won't scrap it.

"I'm not sure what else I can say to make this any clearer, to be honest.

Mr Conway said Coun Bradley’s words were ‘music to our ears’ but added there were still some unresolved matters to be cleared up.

"However, if Coun Bradley knew all of the information regarding the transfer of funding and authority to the new combined authority late last year, why proceed with a ‘pointless’ consultation in the first place, wasting (albeit) a small amount of public money?

“Our main point, however, is to call on the council to publish the consultation survey results as soon as possible.

“There are 154,000 pass holders who are still on tenterhooks and, metaphorically-speaking, in the dark.

“For sure though, this is a good-news story and perhaps a statement can be read out at full council, so that all councillors are informed of this outcome, hopefully accompanied by the survey results.”

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