Campaigners delighted as concessionary tram passes declared safe from cuts

Des Conway of Save Free Tram Travel in Notts group
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

Campaigners have declared victory in their mission to save Nottinghamshire’s concessionary tram passes.

Nottinghamshire County Council has been consulting on whether to scrap, reduce or keep free tram travel for elderly and disabled people.

People aged over 65 or who have disabilities currently get free tram travel between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays, and all day on weekends and bank holidays, which costs £900,000 per year.

The Conservative, Labour and Independent candidates for East Midlands Combined County Authority mayor – who will control funding for the scheme after May 2025 – have all said they plan to keep the passes.

The Save Free Tram Travel in Notts group, who have protested across the county, held a final victory event outside Nottinghamshire County Council on Thursday (February 22).

Organiser Des Conway said: “Without our campaign, we worry that this consultation would have gone under the radar and we could have lost concessions.

“We have done something amazing. I get emotional talking about this.

“We are delighted that all candidates have said there are no plans to cut concessions.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to has been unanimous that concessions should be kept.

“That raises the question – why was the consultation needed in the first place at cost to the taxpayer?”

The group have protested at tram stops at Hucknall, Beeston and Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, often performing songs such as ‘Sweet Tram-oline’.

An online petition set up by the group has reached over 600 signatures.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Ben Bradley (Con), who is also one of the candidates for East Midlands Mayor, said it was unfortunate that the consultation needed to be held.

“We were still in the process of pinning down how transport will work under the Combined County Authority,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the timings meant that we legally had to hold a consultation in case any changes needed to be made.

“I recognise that caused concern. However, both we and Nottingham City Council have committed that concessions will be fully funded until May 2025.”

The new mayoral authority will receive an additional £1.5bn of transport funding, with the first leader elected in May.

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