25 May 2009

Your Bus launches 29 May

Nottingham's newest bus company comes to town on 29 May when it will be operating its new timetable but charging no fares. As Stagecoach found out a few months ago in Perth, this is perfectly acceptable: service registration is not required if you're running buses for free. However, Your Bus' first full day proper is Monday 1 June (when you'll have to pay to travel).

The design chosen for their vehicles seems very stylish and dissimilar to the colour schemes used by its main competitor, Nottingham City Transport (NCT). While Trent Barton's traditional livery is red, so few vehicles wear this colour, I think it's safe to assume no one will confuse the two! The company is understood to have connections to the AIM-listed Rotala Group, through Robert Dunn, formerly of Dunn-Line Holdings.

But perhaps the main competitor Your Bus has in its sights is Nottingham's tram network: Nottingham Express Transit (NET). The two new services run by Your Bus mirror the tram's route north of the city centre to Hyson Green, Basford, Bulwell and Phoenix Park. NET has a higher frequency (every 6-8 mins) to Your Bus' combined bus service (every 10 mins) though is more expensive. Your Bus is offering a weekly ticket for £8, compared to NET's £12.00. A £2.00 day ticket is also offered, compared to NET's £2.70. In both cases, NET offers tickets that cost a little more but offer unlimited travel on NCT's network within the city limits: £13 weekly and £3.00 daily.

Perhaps to combat this, Your Bus is accepting tickets issued by both NCT and NET, though charging a flat 50p fare for travel with these. It's a clever initiative and one that could give the company real benefit. As with Trent Barton, Your Bus is offering its passengers change, unlike NCT's exact-fare only scheme.

Ridership in Nottingham is expected to increase more than in other cities, thanks to it being the first city in the UK to introduce a workplace parking levy.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out. If you live right by a tram stop I can't think that Your Bus will be of any real benefit to you, though there are considerably more bus stops between Bulwell and the city centre than there are tram stops, but then NCT uses these with around five times as many buses into the city centre.

Meanwhile, the company's website can be accessed by clicking here. (GL)