From Monday 13 March, fares will be introduced on the Medilink bus service and fares applied to the full Centrelink Park and Ride route.

The Medilink bus service is currently free and runs Monday to Friday from Queen’s Drive Park and Ride to the City Hospital via Queen’s Medical Centre and the Wilkinson Street tram Park and Ride. It is jointly funded by Nottingham City Council and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and operated by Nottingham Community Transport. It is currently used by over 1.3m passengers a year and operated with electric buses which has helped to minimise running costs.

Up until 30 January, Centrelink was a free service, operating Monday to Saturday, every 10 minutes from 6am to 8pm, linking Victoria Centre, Old Market Square and Broadmarsh Centre. From 30 January the route was extended to Queens Drive P&R via the Railway station, replacing part of the Citylink 1 service. Fares were introduced at the time for trips made to and from the Park and Ride site, although trips made around the city centre and the Railway Station remained free.

There will be a change of fare structure to both services, including the introduction of a £1.00 Robin Hood Pay As You Go fare and £3.00 group ticket for all customers along both routes. City resident concessionary pass holders will be able to travel for free on both services, including from the Park and Ride sites at specified times. Park and Ride fares will be applicable to concessionary pass holders who are not City residents, although free travel will remain for all other trips along each route.

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Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Growth and Transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “Year-on-year substantial Whitehall cuts to local government budgets mean we have to make hard choices. It is vitally important that despite those cuts we maintain a first class community-friendly transport network. The £100,000 estimated yearly savings from this move will enable us to maintain our Link bus network without cutting any Council funded services, such as Locallinks that provide vital links to our elderly residents and those with mobility issues.

£1 is a relatively small charge for this excellent service. Moreover, these services will still be free for all city resident concessionary card holders.”

Peter Homa, Chief Executive at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Medilink service is popular with both the public and staff, reducing the traffic on the city’s busy roads and congestion at our hospitals. Fares start from £1 for non-staff using a Robin Hood Pay As You Go card, which remains cheaper than other bus services and parking at our hospitals for patients and visitors and is necessary in the present financial climate. It also contributes towards covering the costs of the park and ride sites which are used by Medilink passengers. The service remains free to any city resident concessionary fares and prepaid Robin Hood season pass holders.

“The Trust will continue to invest in and support the service and welcomes the decision to continue the free Medilink service for our staff, thousands of whom rely on the service to get to and from work, reducing the pressure on our crowded car parks across QMC and City Hospitals, a problem which could significantly worsen if staff charges were applied.

“The Medilink is an invaluable service that benefits not only the Trust but the wider city and our joint sustainability goals.”