Agenda and minutes

Greater Nottingham Light Rapid Transit Advisory Committee
Tuesday, 15th September, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Remote - To be held remotely via Zoom - View directions

Contact: Adrian Mann  Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Roger Bacon

Councillor John Longdon

Helen Hemstock

Hugh McClintock


Declarations of Interests




Minutes pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2020, for confirmation


The Committee confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2020 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.


Operational Performance and Progress Update pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Report of the Head of Operations, Nottingham Trams


Trevor Stocker, Operations Manager at Nottingham Trams, presented a report on operational performance during June and July 2020. The following points were discussed:


(a)  NET continued to provide an essential tram service during June and July, as Nottingham began to emerge from the period of lockdown. Although non-essential shops were able to reopen from 15 June, and pubs and restaurants were able to reopen from 4 July, the Government’s advice to only use public transport for essential journeys remained in place until 20 July. As a result, demand for tram travel remained relatively low;


(b)  when the Government amended its advice on social distancing to a ‘1 metre plus’ rule, the maximum capacity for trams increased from 24 to 32 people. The wearing of face coverings on public transport also became mandatory during the period. New on-tram signage was introduced, with ‘keep safe – save this space’ signage on tram seats. The current distancing measures are expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, as both NET and Tramlink consider that this is a pragmatic approach to ensuring that customers are safe, and feel safe, when using the trams. However, the use of seat signage will be reviewed for the return of schools, as it has led to confusion in some instances;


(c)  the impact of the return to school is being managed well overall, with most children complying with the relevant requirements, such as the wearing of face coverings. Monitoring is in place to ensure that schoolchildren boarding trams do wear face coverings, and the compliance rate stands at around 90% – though compliance does decrease in the evenings. However, some people are exempt from the need to wear a mask, and the reasons for a given person’s exemption are not always obvious. If committee members experience or receive reports of any anti-social behaviour taking place on the network in relation to Coronavirus requirements, they are encouraged to forward the details and location of the incidents for review by NET;


(d)  some issues have been experienced at tram stops very close to schools, and engagement with schools is underway to help the management of children’s behaviour at stops. Officers are deployed across the network to offer assistance and review capacity, working alongside Community Protection officers, and are there to support other passengers who are nervous about using the trams at peak school travel times;


(e)  a Sunday timetable operated throughout June and July, and the full weekday timetable was reintroduced on 3 August to provide increased capacity, as the number of daily passengers began to rise to approximately 20% of normal levels. The NET Travel Centre also re-opened to customers in early August. The reliability (99.3%) and punctuality (98.7%) of the tram service remained extremely high during the period. Passenger levels are increasing, so the tram loadings are being monitored closely. Data capture is underway and is in its early stages, but passenger travel behaviour does seem to be changing, with different usage peaks in the morning, around lunchtime and in the evening;


(f)  every effort is being taken to follow the current Government guidance, to restore passenger trust by ensuring the following of social distancing and the regular sanitisation of trams and stops. As the full number of trams are now operating on the network to the normal timetable, passengers do not need to wait long for the next tram, if they feel that the current one is too crowded. Communications are carried out through social media to identify quieter periods for travel, and consideration is being given to the development of a customer app to show the current passenger numbers on any given tram (which would also help to inform pricing models), if this would be financially achievable. Targeted work will also be carried out the vulnerable elements of the community who have been avoiding public transport completely to seek to rebuild their confidence in using the network;


(g)  the Committee felt that, ultimately, taking measures to ensure that passengers feel confident and safe in using the tram is vital, so the measures to make people feel less crowded when boarding and riding on the tram are highly important;


(h)  the additional cleaning of trams and tram stops has continued to take place, including the deployment of cleaning teams at the four terminuses and other key locations, to ensure that frequently touched surfaces are disinfected regularly. Drivers are continuing to stop at all tram stops, with all doors opening automatically. Customers are advised to purchase e-tickets via the website or app, whenever possible, instead of using the ticket machines. An agreement has been signed with the supplier of the on-street ticket machines for the Robin Hood Network for the introduction of similar fully contactless payment ticket machines across the whole tram system by June 2021;


(i)  the works to install new rails and a replacement tram crossing between Royal Centre and Old Market Square were completed on 13 July, six days ahead of schedule. During the period of the works, tram services from Phoenix Park and Hucknall terminated at the Royal Centre, with those from Clifton South and Toton Lane terminating at Nottingham Station. A replacement bus service was made available, but customers were advised to walk between tram stops, if possible. Very few complaints about the works were received, and no major incidents were recorded;


(j)  a ‘chat bot’ service has been introduced and integrated with the current instant chat feature, to provide answers to questions raised by customers on the NET website when staff are not available. WhatsApp has also been integrated with the NET customer management system, allowing customers to make contact instantly via the messaging app;


(k)  a six-month season ticket has been introduced, available to adults, students and under-19s, in recognition of the uncertainty that still surrounds the return to work or regular travel for many people. One, three and six-month tickets were also added to the Tram2Work range, previously only available as annual passes. The Group Ticket offer was made available throughout the summer holidays, in conjunction with the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The use of group tickets could be affected if the Government revises social distancing requirements or limits the number of people who may travel together, so every effort will be made to ensure that group tickets are as flexible as possible;


(l)  currently, revenue protection activity is not being carried out, to safeguard staff from any conflict situations that could bring them into too close contact with a passenger, in the context of social distancing. Revenue protection officers are still working on the network to provide in-person advice to passengers, and to discourage anti-social behaviour. Officers are working particularly closely with schools regarding tram stops that are used by significant numbers of pupils. ‘Soft’ revenue protection measures will be reintroduced shortly, in consultation with Community Protection, the Police and staff unions, to ensure that this is done in a safe way for both employees and passengers;


(m)the Committee thanked all staff involved in the operation of the tram network for their substantial efforts in keeping the system running during this very challenging time, with as limited disruption as possible.


The Committee noted the operational performance report and progress update.


Network Safety and Accessibility Update

Update from the Head of Operations, Nottingham Trams


Trevor Stocker, Operations Manager at Nottingham Trams, provided an update on network safety and accessibility. The following points were discussed:


(a)  recent incidents on the network have been low, with some minor road traffic collisions. In the current circumstances, most activity relating to safety on the network has been in the context of Coronavirus. The repair works to Clifton Bridge are still progressing, and the latest measures put in place to prevent vehicles entering tram-only bridges (such as at Nottingham station) have been effective. The introduction of more yellow boxes at road junctions where there are also tram tacks is being considered, to help to keep the junctions clear for trams.


The Committee noted the safety and accessibility update.


Issues Raised by Committee Members and Citizens pdf icon PDF 452 KB


Andrew Conroy, Chief Operating Officer at Tramlink Nottingham, presented a report on a complaint received in relation to the extension and refunding of travel passes during the lockdown period. The following points were discussed:


(a)  season tickets are very important and significant work has been carried out to retain and support season ticket holders during the Coronavirus period. In the case of the complaint, made by a Tram2Work customer, engagement to resolve unused tickets during lockdown would normally have been carried out with the employer. The option to extend the ticket due to lost usage was available up to 3 August, but tickets could only be refunded as per the standard cancellation policy after this date. However, the complainant only received this information from their employer after this date;


(b)  a refund of £220 was made, which was not financially disadvantageous to the customer on the basis of the actual number of journeys taken on the ticket. A £10 administration charge was also made, as this fee is used to cover the costs of operating the refund system. However, the current refunds policy does not make it fully clear how a refund for a season ticket is calculated, or what the administration fee is for. It is proposed to offer the customer the opportunity to extend the season ticket, if desired. Alternatively, Tramlink will waive the administration charge if the ticket is cancelled. Going forward, it is proposed to update the current refund policy so that it is more easily understandable, and to remove the administration charge completely;


(c)  the Committee supported the proposed offer of a ticket extension to the customer, along with the alternative to refund the administration fee if the customer wishes to cancel the ticket. It felt that the refunds policy should be updated to be more transparent, and considered that the proposed removal of the administration charge is positive. It recommended that everything possible is done to ensure that the right communications are made to customers, and that the information about refunds on the NET website is made completely clear. The Committee requested that it is briefed on the new refunds policy and the way in which it is communicated to customers, once it has been revised and updated.


Resolved to endorse the offer of an appropriate extension of the season ticket to the customer, or the refunding of the £10 administration charge if the ticket is cancelled.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 14 KB

For discussion and agreement


The Chair presented the Committee’s proposed work plan for the 2020/21 municipal year. The following points were discussed:


(a)  the Committee requested that, as part of its ongoing work, a briefing is provided on the introduction of the revised ticket refund policy, and on the results of the recent customer satisfaction survey about the value for money of the tram, and how this feedback affects the ticketing strategy and revenue growth, going forward. It also requested that the health-related impacts on staff as a result of Coronavirus are set out in the next regular operations report to the Committee.


Resolved to agree the proposed Work Plan.


Future Meeting Dates

For agreement:


Tuesday 8 December 2020 at 2:00pm

Tuesday 9 March 2021 at 2:00pm


Resolved to meet on the following dates:

·  Tuesday 8 December 2020 at 2:00pm

·  Tuesday 9 March 2021 at 2:00pm