Concern after the company that operates Nottingham’s tram system reported a £18.79 million loss for the 2018 financial year.

Nottingham Tramlink, which holds a 22-year contract with Nottingham City Council to run the trams, reported the loss in its annual report.

It reported a loss of £48.5 million in the 2017 financial year, bringing their total losses for the past 24 months to £65 million.

The loss is despite an increase in passenger numbers from 16.4m in 2017 to 17.8m in 2018.

“We are confident they will continue to deliver a successful tram service”
Councillor Dave Liversidge, Portfolio Holder for Transport at the City Council

The company, a private finance initiative, took over the operation of the original tram network which opened in 2004.

It also completed a £570 million expansion project to add lines to Chilwell, Beeston and Clifton in August 2015.

There are now concerns that Tramlink could struggle to keep up with loan repayments, with auditors raising concerns about how much longer the company will be able to operate.

BBC Radio Nottingham reported that Tramlink is speaking to its lenders who’ve agreed not to take any action, at the moment, on any defaulted loan.

A Tramlink Nottingham spokesperson said: “We are delighted that passenger numbers continue to rise and would like to thank our customers for their continued and growing support.”

Audio: the public have mixed views about why Tramlink are losing money.

The spokesperson added that this level of debt was common in private finance initiatives.

“During the year the company fully serviced all third-party debt requirements and repaid £15.2m of loans.”

Councillor Dave Liversidge, Portfolio Holder for Transport at the City Council said: “The tram is an integral part of Nottingham’s world class public transport network and we’re really pleased the use of the tram network is continuing to grow.

 “The nature of Tramlink’s accounts appear typical for the contractual arrangements that are in place and we are confident they will continue to deliver a successful tram service for the city.”