Luas operator profits slide despite more passengers

A record year for the Luas in 2014 was not enough to prevent pre-tax profits at its French-owned operator declining by 34% to €872,270.
Luas operator profits slide despite more passengers

According to returns just made to the Companies Office, Transdev Dublin Light Rail Ltd sustained the drop in profits from the structure of its new five-year €150m contract with the Rail Procurement Agency.

As a result of the new billing structures in place in the contract, which commenced last year, revenues at Transdev decreased by 15% to €48.8m in 2014.

Last year, 32.4m passenger trips were made on the light rail network, an increase of 6% on the previous year. It also marked the seventh successive year of rising passenger numbers for the service.

Luas celebrated 10 years of operations in June 2014. The network now covers a total of 37.2 km following the extensions to The Point, Brides Glen and Saggart.

Work is underway on the Luas Cross City project, which will link the green and the red lines and is expected to increase passenger numbers by 10m per annum.

Last week, Luas users received bad news, with the National Transport Authority (NTA) announcing a 4% increase in the purchase of a one, seven or 30-day ticket, meaning some annual ticket holders will face a €60 rise in their ticket price.

The NTA said that, despite passenger growth in 2014, increases were needed to complete the “restructuring and simplification” of the fare structure, to encourage a switch to the Leap card and to contribute to the additional cost of providing services.

According to the directors for Transdev, the firm’s earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were €1.24m in 2014, compared to €1.54m in 2013, amounting to a drop of €293,601.

The directors state that the decline “relates to the lower revenues arising under the new contract with the RPA”.

They added that “while profitability is lower under the terms of the new contract, it is the intention of the directors to continue to develop the current activities of the company”.

Numbers employed on the Luas last year decreased from 293 to 290, with staff costs increasing from €15.3m to €15.73m.

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