In September 2013, Nottingham’s biggest transport operator invested in new technology aimed at improving the journey experience for its passengers. Recognising the integral role our mobile phones and devices play in our everyday lives, Nottingham City Transport began a trial providing free on-bus Wi-Fi on a small number of its services. To say the trial was a success is somewhat of an understatement.
Today, just 2½ years later, every one of its 310 buses has free on-board Wi-Fi, and NCT has announced that over 120,000 different users have clocked up over 3million Wi-Fi sessions since the technology was introduced.
“We continually aim to provide the best public transport service in the city, and along with frequency, reliability, comfort and value-for-money, we knew that our passengers would value being able to use their mobiles and tablets while travelling,” says NCT Marketing Manager, Anthony Carver-Smith. “Our customers can now check their emails, their social media platforms or surf the web during their journey – and all for free without eating into their data! The service is incredibly popular and the positive feedback we’ve received has been really rewarding.”
With the technology supplied by Swedish communications specialist, Icomera, the average time customers are online is 20 minutes, and the most popular route for Wi-Fi use is the Turquoise 77 which runs from the City through to Strelley via Aspley.
Nottingham City Transport is the only public transport operator in the City to offer Wi-Fi on all of its services, including longer distance Pathfinder and South Notts buses.
Anna Kemp, a mum of two from East Leake, is a regular passenger on the South Notts 1 service, travelling to both Loughborough and Nottingham. She agrees that free Wi-Fi has made each journey an even better experience.
“I often take the 1 to get to Nottingham with my 3-year-old little boy and trying to get him to sit still and keep him amused for over half an hour was sometimes tricky!” says Mrs Kemp. “Since the free Wi-Fi was introduced, he’s been able to play games online, so now that he’s entertained, the journeys are much more relaxing for both of us and seem to go much quicker!”
Providing free on-board Wi-Fi has proved to be a very wise investment for Nottingham’s award-winning bus operator, as NCT remains one of the few operators in the UK outside London to increase passenger numbers year on year.