Travelling around Nottingham is about to be made easier and cheaper with the new pay-as-you-go Robin Hood smartcard.

Available from Robin Hood Network ticket machines from Monday 14 December, the card will create a hassle-free way of getting around Nottingham on bus or tram – even when using different transport operators.

As part of its introductory first phase, the smartcard will run on buses and trams to ensure everything is working properly across the network. The Robin Hood card will be valid for travel on Nottingham Express Transit (tram), Nottingham City Transport (NCT) – including Pathfinder and South Notts buses – Kinchbus, Trent Barton and the City Council’s Linkbus network (including park and ride) within Nottingham.

In 2016, other retail outlets such as travel centres, newsagents, web and tram stops will come on line. More Robin Hood Network ticket machines will be added. The new system has had a £2.5 million investment from the Department for Transport’s Better Bus Area Fund and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

The Robin Hood smartcard will work like London’s Oyster card – customers can add money to the card to pay for bus and tram fares. Passengers will always know they are paying less than the standard daily rate: 10% cheaper than a day ticket when paying with cash. The Robin Hood card itself is free and the fares are set by the transport providers. Passengers don’t have to decide in advance which ticket to buy – the card works this out and gives the best fare on the day for the trips they’ve made.

To use the card, a customer will present it to a smartcard reader once for each trip made. On bus services, this will be the reader on entering the bus. To use the tram, the Robin Hood card should be touched on to the validator on the platform. It’s easier and quicker, too, because passengers only need to scan as they get on their bus or tram, not when they get off. This is important to prevent being charged twice.

By integrating bus, tram and eventually train travel through a partnership between the City Council, County Council and local and commercial transport providers, the Robin Hood card is the first scheme of its kind outside London, where the Oyster card has revolutionised the way people get around the capital.Robin Hood Travel Card

Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Growth, Jobs and Transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a really exciting development and further underlines our commitment to providing a world-class public transport system for Nottingham. An integrated travel card of this type has never been done before outside London and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with our commercial partners to make it happen.

“The Robin Hood card offers a flexible way to pay for travel across participating company services and guarantees to be the cheapest way to move around the area without using a season card. It is a crucial part of providing integrated ticketing in the city to make travelling by public transport as easy and appealing as possible.

“We hope that other bus companies and East Midlands Trains will be on board soon. The Robin Hood card will be valid over the Greater Nottingham area, from Arnold to Ruddington, and from Netherfield to Beeston, so will be great for occasional public transport commuters and for shoppers and visitors to the city.”

A single trip on one day will be £1.70 with any operator. Unlimited day trips can be made for £3.15 from any one given operator or £4 for more than one operator. The minimum top-up on the card will be £10.

Over the next year it is planned to introduce weekly fare capping, out-of-the-area travel and child and student cards.

More information can be found on the website Hood travel cards will begin their initial introductory phase from 14 December. In the long run, they will change the way people use public transport in Nottingham offering pay-as-you-go travel to citizens that is simple, flexible and integrated across the main transport operators.

What is the Robin Hood smartcard?
It’s a smartcard with an electronic purse from which the cost of travel is automatically deducted as people travel around Nottingham. It’s the first of its kind outside London. Passengers don’t have to decide in advance which ticket to purchase – the card works this out and gives the best fare on the day for the trips they’ve made. Smartcard readers on buses and trams give a running total of fares as people move around the City – they don’t need to wait for a statement.

Who is involved in the partnership?
Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Transport, TrentBarton, Nottingham Community Transport, Nottingham Express Transit, Kinchbus

Where can the smartcards be used?
The card is valid only within Nottingham on all services operated by:

  • Nottingham City Transport, Pathfinder and South Notts
  • Trent Barton and Kinchbus
  • Nottingham Express Transit (Tram)
  • Linkbus network, including bus park and ride

It is expected that other operators including suburban rail will be included soon.

What is available as part of the first phase from 14 December?
Passengers will be able to buy the smartcards from key locations around the city to make day trips. We’ll test the system for the coming months to make sure everything runs smoothly.

What will be available in the next phases as the scheme progresses?
Once we’ve tested the system thoroughly, we’ll be looking at introducing weekly fare capping, out of area travel, child and student variants, wider retail network – tram machines, travel centres, web and auto-top up.

How do the smartcards work?
You need to present your card to a smartcard reader once for each trip made. On any bus service, this will be the reader on entering the bus. For the tram, it will be a validator on the platform. Important: Passengers will only need to present their card at the start of their journey. If they try to ‘touch off’ at the end then they will be charged twice.

What fares will be charged?
Fares are set by each operator on a commercial basis. Together they represent the best deal for any trip made on the day and are at least 10% less than paying by cash. The following fares will be applied in relation to the trips actually made:

Single trip on one day

Any operator                           £1.70

Day fare cap – unlimited number of trips

Any one given operator          £3.15

More than one operator          £4.00

Details on each day ticket are available on the Travel is subject to the terms and conditions of each operator and of the scheme itself.

How to buy and top up the smartcard
Smartcards can be purchased and topped-up from any Robin Hood Network ticket machine in the City. See website for locations. This can only be done by credit or debit card. The card itself is free of charge. Passengers can also find out the current balance on cards on these machines at any time. Other retail outlets such as travel centres, newsagents, web and tram stops are to follow next year. More Robin Hood Network ticket machines are being added.

What if passengers run out of credit?
As long as passengers have some credit on their card they will be able to make a further single journey. On next top-up they will have their balance deducted by the subsidised amount of the last journey.

What if people lose their smartcard?
People are encouraged to register their card on the website If the card is then lost, contact us and we will dispatch another card complete with lost credit, less a £3 administration fee.

What if I already have another travel card?
Robin Hood will eventually be the only card that you can use across all 3 types of transport –  tram, bus and trains. Other travel cards will still be valid, such as Mango, Kangaroo and CityCard.