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Edinburgh enjoys record public transport passenger numbers

Posted: 14th August 2015
  • 121 million passenger journeys in total for 2014
  • 3 million extra on bus and 3 million on trams
  • Lothian Buses dividend to public sector owners up to £5.5m
  • Tram patronage and revenue higher than expected

Annual accounts show that more passengers than ever before travelled on Lothian Buses services in 2014, helping to increase the company’s revenue by £3m and generating a dividend to its public sector owners of £5.5m.

An extra three million passenger journeys were undertaken, taking the total for the year to 118m, while the firm maintained industry-leading customer satisfaction ratings.

Three million passengers travelled on Edinburgh Trams, generating revenue of £6.4m in its first seven months of operation, around 3% higher than projected. Over the first 12 months of service, there were 4.92 million passengers, around 370,000 ahead of the target set before launch.

Cllr Lesley Hinds, Chair of Transport for Edinburgh, said:
“Everyone across the Transport for Edinburgh Group is to be congratulated for delivering a hugely successful operation over 2014. Innovations and improvements have been introduced such as new websites, customer mobile apps and refurbished Travelshops – all enhancements to the experience of passengers. Lothian Buses, and now Edinburgh Trams too, sit at the heart of life in Edinburgh, moving people to where they need to be in their millions each week, and driving our economy. These services are essential to the success of the city and I’m pleased that we’re moving forward positively.”

Ian Craig, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh said:
“Transport for Edinburgh has achieved much in its first year and alongside successful performance at Lothian Buses, Edinburgh Trams can boast impressive passenger numbers and strong financial performance when compared against the business model. We are especially pleased with how reliable and efficient the trams have proved to be, and that they are so highly rated by our passengers. This is down to the hard work of everyone involved and is something the team can take great pride in.”

Jim McFarlane, Chair and General Manager of Lothian Buses, said:
“2014 was a challenging yet successful year and we’re pleased to report very high levels of performance. For our people this should be a justifiable source of pride. As a company we are going through a period of change and we have committed to growth and further success. Our priority is to keep our focus firmly on the needs of our passengers so that we can continue providing excellent public transport for everyone who wants to get around Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

Lothian Buses generated revenue of £135.3m (2013 £132.3m) resulting in profit after tax of £8.24m (2013 £8.58m) and a dividend to its local authority shareholders of £5.5m (2013 £3.3m).

Edinburgh Bus Tours, which offers five sight-seeing routes through the city, achieved five star status from VisitScotland and carried more than half a million passengers.

Other highlights from the year include various Lothian Buses initiatives being successfully rolled out to incorporate trams. These include the mobile app, which received 200,000 downloads in 2014, and its sister mobile ticketing app, which generated £2m worth of sales over the 12 months.

The company also launched its citysmart card that allows passengers to pre-purchase single and multiple bus and tram journeys before travelling, and completely redeveloped its flagship Travelshop on Waverley Bridge.

Research by Passenger Focus showed that Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams are among the highest achieving UK public transport operators in terms of customer satisfaction with rating of around 95%.

A budget to support the initial years of the tram service was agreed before launch by the Council. This budget was expected to be £0.6m in 2014 however, as a result of strong performance, the final figure was £0.45m.

The full 2014 set of annual reports are published today (Friday 14 August) and set out detailed financial statements.

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