History was made at 6am on Tuesday 25th August when the first trams on the new lines to Clifton and Chilwell began passenger service.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, with lead responsibility for NET at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a really great day for Nottingham. It marks the dawn of a new era when NET becomes a true network and, with trams running from every seven minutes, it is all set to provide easier access to key locations right across the city.
“The tram provides the backbone to the city’s integrated transport network, underpinning all the efforts to reduce congestion, improve the environment and make Nottingham an even better place to live, work or visit.”
Following the successful completion of a thorough testing programme, the new services will bring wide-ranging benefits to both existing customers and communities along the two new lines.
Alongside the construction of 17.5km of new lines, the project has also seen the creation of more than 2,000 free spaces at new park and ride sites, a new tram and bus interchange in Beeston and a new tram stop at the redeveloped Nottingham Station.
Paul Robinson, NET’s General Manager, added: “We’re champing at the bit to get the new services under way. We’ve created over 100 new jobs, trained new drivers and expanded our Depot ready for start of passenger services and our team is raring to go.”
Today’s launch will also mark the completion of one of the country’s largest infrastructure projects in recent times, providing employment opportunities and contracts for local businesses whilst creating a series of new landmarks, including the impressive Karlsruhe and Ningbo Friendship Bridges.
NET Marketing Manager Jamie Swift said: “We know the construction process has caused inconvenience and disruption for some communities but we hope they will soon start to see that it has been worthwhile.
“As work has progressed on the new lines, the tram fleet has been boosted by the arrival of the new Citadis trams, enabling NET to increase service frequencies. At the same time we’ve refurbished the existing fleet and invested in state-of-the-art technology for ‘buy before you board’ ticketing and smart card payment.
“Thanks to these improvements, customer journeys are on the rise. We carried over eight million passengers last year and we expect this to more than double with the opening of the new lines that will serve key locations such as the Queen’s Medical Centre and ng2 Business Park.”
Over recent months, NET has worked closely with many communities and businesses that will be served by the tram for the first time, providing information on what they can expect and using feedback to shape future services.
“The priority has been ensuring that the tram continues to deliver excellent value for money. We’ve recently introduced a £3.50 day return ticket within the wider city area and great savings are also available by using a MANGO smart card or by purchasing a season ticket.”
A special discounted ticket offer has been announced to celebrate the launch of Nottingham's expanded tram network. Available from Tuesday 25th until Monday 31st August, NET has slashed the cost of its NETwork 7-day unlimited travel ticket to just £10 for adults and £5 for children. This can be purchased from all tram stop ticket machines across the network.