Translink Year-end Performance 2014/15

Group Chief Executive's Weekly Message

3rd July 2015

Today we are releasing the Translink group annual report and accounts.  The financial headlines show a trading loss of £8.4m for the year 2014/15.   ‘Like for like’ this compares to a small profit of £300k last year and a profit of £9million in 2012/13.  This is as budgeted, as we have had to manage reductions in funding from DRD in the past years; in 2014/15 funding from DRD reduced by £13million.

As we have previously said, we are managing this reduction in funding through management and overhead cost savings (the Voluntary Exit Scheme), a fares increase and service changes. These actions started in 2014/15 but will largely impact from 2015/16.  This year will continue to be challenging with additional cuts in funding; further losses are projected and the trading environment remains challenging.

However, with a continued focus on increasing fare paying passengers and reducing costs we are budgeting a return to profitability within two years.  We are able to manage these losses arising from the funding reductions through use of the cash reserves we have built up from profitable operations in previous years.

Other headlines for 2014/15 show the number of fare paying passengers increased by 480k versus the previous year, in fact during the last three years we have added 2.8 million fare paying journeys (+ 6.6%). Notably, NI Railways journeys have risen by 7%, Goldline by 2%, services connecting airports by 2% and usage of Park and Ride services show a 13% year on year growth.  Government passenger transport targets were delivered; more than 80 million passenger journeys.

We have achieved this through effective operational performance, product development, innovation, value for money and a focus on customer satisfaction. While there have been very large financial pressures, we should be very proud of delivering a lot of improvement through the year.  Some highlights include:

  • Transport to major events, most notably the Giro d’Italia and the Balmoral Show; we also provided 90 buses with staff at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
  • Translink digital, customer information, social media and ecommerce activity continues to develop and strongly grow in popularity among passengers.
  • A smartlink ticket for annual commuter passes was introduced (aLink) and mobile phone ticketing (mLink) on NI Railways was enhanced.  New handheld ticketing equipment is now used by on train staff and the use of contactless bank cards will soon be introduced on board trains.
  • Goldline and Metro services were enhanced; capacity and frequency were improved on selected routes. 79 new buses were introduced to the fleet; 37 single deck for Metro and Ulsterbus and 42 double deck for Metro.
  • A footbridge was constructed at Moira rail halt.
  • A Translink Best Value Sales Team visited 275 venues from September 2014 selling travelcards and telling passengers how to save money with Translink.
  • Each of our depots and stations hosted a ‘Meet the Managers’ event for local elected representatives, passengers and stakeholders across NI

Park & Ride Developments: new developments are now in place at Dundonald, Tamnamore & Jordanstown and construction at Ballymartin is near completion.

Gordon Milligan

Acting Group Chief Executive