The Nottingham Evening Post have recently reported that Tramlink Nottingham – operators of Nottingham Express Transit – have posted a loss of £22 million in 2018/19. This is an increase from £18.79 million in the previous 12 months but despite this increase officials at the company have said there is no cause for concern.
The latest accounts have also revealed that an extra one million passengers were carried during the period under review with a total of 18.8 million passengers journeys now having been recorded. Meanwhile, there was a rise in turnover to over £63 million. On the negative side it is said that fare revenue is not sufficient to fund the operational side of the trams
With Nottingham Express Transit constructed under a Private Finance Initiative the terms mean that repayments are more expensive in the early years of the agreement which is contributing to the larger loss posted this time around.
The Chief Executive of Tramlink Nottingham, Adrian Wallace, said: “Year on year, the city’s tram network is growing in popularity. The performance of the network remains extremely positive and our customers continue to show their support for what is a fantastic public transport system by travelling with us in their thousands each and every day. Given where we are in the lifecycle of what is a 23-year project, we remain pleased with the company’s overall performance. Passenger journeys rose 5.6 percent last year to nearly 19 million, turnover has once again increased to over £63 million and the tram service itself is performing in line with expectations. Planned investment in refreshing NET’s fleet of older trams meant that operating profits in 2018/2019 were below the previous year’s figures.”
Cllr Adele Williams, Portfolio holder for local transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “We have no concerns with Tramlink’s finances. It is one of the most successful tram systems in the country, with increasing passenger numbers and satisfaction demonstrating that it’s a hugely popular part of our superb public transport network. Having invested significant up-front costs to double the size of the tram network through a Private Finance Initiative, Tramlink were always going to be mostly paying off interest early on, just like a household mortgage. Over the two decades of the contract, however, this will come down considerably and so the accounts are showing what we would expect at this stage in the repayment programme. We fully expect the tram to continue to go from strength to strength, building on the 19 million passengers who use it to travel with ease around our city every year.”