IRELAND: The National Transport Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency signed a new contract for incumbent Transdev Dublin Light Rail Ltd to operate the capital’s tram system on September 1.

The five-year contract worth €150m starts on September 29, and includes responsibility for infrastructure and rolling stock maintenance through novated contracts.

The Department for Transport, Tourism & Sport said savings achieved from the ‘robust procurement competition’ and the ‘significant growth in passenger numbers over the last two years’ mean Luas is expected to return to an operating surplus in 2015.

‘The success of the Luas is evidenced by the fact that passenger numbers last year exceed 30 million; a massive increase of 8 million on 2005, when the Luas was first introduced to Dublin’, said Paschal Donohoe, Minister Transport, Tourism & Sport. ‘Those numbers are only set to grow into the future with the development of the Luas Cross City, which will link the Red and Green lines and create a truly integrated public transport system in Dublin for the first time.’