More passengers, but Translink makes £16.6m loss


Severe budget cuts are to blame for Translink’s biggest ever losses, a Stormont scrutiny committee has been told.

Even though passenger numbers increased over the past year, the public transport operator has recorded pre-tax losses of £16.6 million – the worst in its history.

Chief executive David Strahan warned the only way to protect frontline services was to increase funding.

He said: “We have been hit with a massive in-year shock in terms of funding. If this was in GB these services would have gone long ago.

“You can’t say to an organisation here is a package of money and here is a suite of services we want you to provide and then say we are going to cut the funding you receive by 20 per cent but we want you to provide the same services.

“That is not tenable.”

Mr Strahan, who is due to quit his post to become a gospel preacher in September, was briefing MLAs on the company’s annual accounts.

A three-pronged plan including price hikes and service reductions is expected to bring the publicly funded company back into profit within three years, MLAs heard.

A voluntary redundancy scheme, which has now closed, will also see around 55 managers or supervisors leave by the autumn, saving £3.1 million.