Horse trams post loss of almost £500k in 2017

Isle of Man Today have this week reported that the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway posted losses of £483,299 in 2017 according to figures released after a Freedom of Information request. The large increase in operating costs for 2017 in comparison to previous years is said to be the result of the government purchasing various assets from Douglas Borough Council.

All in all, during 2017 the running costs of the tramway were £626,002 with revenue of £142,703 bringing the total loss of £483,299. The running costs included capital expenditure (purchase of assets, fixtures and fittings from the council and the overhaul of some of the horse cars), revenue expenditure (rent and payroll) and other expenditure (including the purchase of horses).

Although this is a large loss it should hopefully not be repeated as there won’t be the need to purchase assets from the council again, although refurbishment of the horse trams is, of course, ongoing.

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5 Responses to Horse trams post loss of almost £500k in 2017

  1. Chris Callan says:

    “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” quote never seemed more important. These figures can (probably already have) been twisted and manipulated depending on predetermined beliefs up and down Island and beyond. FOIs only partially reveal things. Need to be seen in a wider context to be of any value. I think when operations in infancy (or in process of been relaunched under new management new era) important to look at bigger picture and judge it year on year where its heading. Clearly huge money needs to be invested to create sustainable secure operation.

  2. Geoff IoM says:

    The figures are, of course, total nonsense. It appears that our civil servants are incapable of distinguishing between capital and revenue expenditure. As far as I have been able to ascertain, although they state that the £626,002. includes both, they have not released figures under each heading, so it is impossible to arrive at a meaningful figure for a working profit or loss. Hopeless!

  3. Geoff IoM says:

    Further to my post yesterday, the Infrastructure Minister has now said that the Douglas Horse Trams could ultimately break even.

    If you remove the capital costs of purchasing assets from Douglas Borough Council, who ran the trams until 2016, the running costs were closer to a third of the £626k figure.

    He’s hopeful for the future of the service.

  4. Geoff IoM says:

    Finally, we seem to be getting somewhere near the truth. DoI have now stated that revenue expenditure, excluding capital items, was £349,315 in 2017. This leaves an operating loss of £206,612.

  5. Paul Turner says:

    £349k seems a huge amount. Based 4919 timetabled trips it works out as £71/trip!