Translink is the trading name for the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, parent company for NI Railways, Ulsterbus and Metrobus.
The annual report for the year to March 25, 2012 is a statutory requirement of the group and combines an overview of the financial performance together with the formal accounts.
Partly because of the extensive Government involvement in approving its business plans and providing extensive financial support, the commercial significance of the trading accounts needs to be interpreted with care.
In a change to align with Government requirements for a public sector commercial organisation, Translink has this year presented its accounts using the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standard). The change has little impact on the trading figures but involves significant presentation differences for pension funds and their tax treatment.
Total revenue raised held steady. Operating profits were recorded in the year to March 2011 but became a loss in the most recent year. Pre-tax profits remained positive last year but this was helped by an unusual income item of £7.7m.
The group proforma profit was £400k in the year to March 2010, £700k in the year to March 2011, and this improved to a profit of £2.9m more recently. Passenger numbers fell slightly from 80.7m three years ago, to 78.2 m in 2009-10; and 77m in 2010-11; a fall of 5% in two years.
Now, in 2011-12, passenger numbers rose fractionally to 77.2m.
The target for 2011-12 had been for small decrease in bus passenger numbers and an increase in railway passengers.
The number of railway passengers rose ahead of the stated target and the number of bus passengers was higher than the target set.