The Robin Hood smartcard and a project that introduces children to public transport through characters such as Ellie the Electric Bus are among the initiatives that have put Nottingham City Council on the shortlists for four national awards.

The City Council has been shortlisted in four categories of the UK Bus Awards, announced today (Thursday, October 12) at a special event at the Museum of Transport in Greater Manchester.

The council also received recognition for operating the UK’s first all-electric park and ride services, and introducing the capped fare pay-as-you-go Robin Hood smartcard in partnership with all bus, trams and park and ride operators across Nottingham.

Councillor Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services and Local Transport, said: “The fact that Nottingham is in the running for four national awards is testament to our commitment and success in providing high quality public transport that puts passengers first.

“We are punching well above our weight when it comes to public transport, especially in terms of introducing environmentally-friendly choices and keeping the public informed about their options and most cost-effective ways to travel.”

The City Council has been shortlisted in the following categories:

  • Putting Passengers First – The Robin Hood Smartcard, in partnership with local transport operators, has been shortlisted in this category, recognising excellent customer service and innovation in improving passengers’ experiences.
  • Making Buses a Better Choice – The smartcard has also been shortlisted in this category, recognising projects that improve the attractiveness of bus services.
  • Environment Award – Nottingham’s electric park and ride services, in partnership with Nottingham Community Transport, has been shortlisted in recognition of the efforts made to improve the green credentials of bus services, and also improvements to the overall environment in the communities where they operate
  • Marketing Initiative of the Year – The children’s book series ‘Ellie and Friends’ has been shortlisted in this category, recognising inspired promotional and marketing campaigns that successfully engage people to make changes in the way they travel

Mark Yexley, Chairman for the UK Bus Awards, said: “We have some truly inspirational people working in our industry, leading innovation and outstanding improvements in the customer experience. They show unrivalled commitment in delivering a first-class service day in, day out. We’re very proud to be able to recognise and reward these people and initiatives that really make a difference.

“Our Finalists’ Announcement is a very special day for all those involved, it’s been great to visit the North West, and what a great setting to be able to celebrate the people, projects and organisations that will shape the industry of the future.”

The final award ceremony will be hosted by BBC News presenter Jane Hill at the Troxy in London’s East End on Tuesday, November 21.

The award submissions

Putting Passengers First and Making Buses a Better Choice

The Robin Hood Card provides a range of multi-operator, multi-modal tickets and smart cards for adults, students and young people to travel across Greater Nottingham. Bringing together bus, tram and rail operators with Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Councils, the Robin Hood network makes ticketing more simple, attractive and accessible.

The latest development is the Pay As You Go travel card (PAYG) – one of the first of its kind in the UK outside London – which offers a capped fare and is more complex than the London card due to the need to include operators’ own ticket offers. The Pay as you Go card is easier and faster for passengers, offering best value without the need to choose tickets in advance. Customers are served by an on-street network of more than 125 ticket vending and top up machines as well as city centre travel shops. The scheme also includes improvements to a branded website and a journey planner.

Environment Award

In January this year Nottingham became the first city in the country to run all-electric park and ride services. Diesel vehicles on the Ecolink and Centrelink services were replaced with 13 long-range battery electric buses, resulting in significant reductions in carbon emissions and other pollutants. The cost savings on fuel and servicing has enabled the council to fully maintain its contracted bus network, while the zero emission technology supports the aspirations for cleaner air in the city.

Marketing Initiative of the Year

Engaging and inspiring young children to use environmentally-friendly public transport is the focus of a set of children’s books featuring electric buses and trams. Characters such as Ellie the Electric Bus and Marvin the Medilink give advice on how to travel safely and sustainably. Set in Nottingham, the stories encourage young people to view travelling by public transport in a positive light, while at the same time promoting literacy and green choices. Feedback has been very positive, with more than 26,000 copies printed to date and stocks of the most recent edition selling out within a week. The initiative has also included school visits and activities in local libraries and on board the tram. Go to to find out more.