Edinburgh trams make a profit two years ahead of schedule

Edinburgh Trams an early success
Edinburgh Trams an early success
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Edinburgh Trams announced its first profits today - two years earlier than forecast.

The city council-owned line recorded a £252,000 pre-tax profit for 2016 compared to an expected loss of £170,000.

It comes two weeks after the route between Edinburgh Airport and York Place in the city centre received a UK record 99 per cent satisfaction rating from passenger watchdog Transport Focus.

But the £776 million scheme opened in 2014 three years late and hugely over budget.

Edinburgh Trams managing director Lea Harrison said: “We’re delighted with these results and they firmly reflect the growing popularity of the tram.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen patronage increase by 10 per cent [to 5.6 million] and revenue rise by 12 per cent.

“These encouraging figures have been driven by our move to increase the frequency of trams combined with our ongoing commitment to exceptional service.”

Lesley Macinnes, the council’s new transport convener, said: “These are fantastic figures, demonstrating how popular trams have become. It’s especially welcome news so soon after the capital’s trams were nationally recognised for having the highest customer satisfaction rating of any public transport operator in the UK.”

Green transport spokesman Chas Booth said: “It strengthens the case for looking now at the extension to Newhaven given that Leith has had all the pain of trams but, so far, none of the gain.”

George Lowder, chief executive of Transport for Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh Trams are working tirelessly to offer a safe, reliable and customer-focused operation, with performance for 2017 already showing further growth.”