EDINBURGH Trams racked up five times the expected profits last year.

The firm made profits of £1.6 million, set against the predicted gains of £333,000, results published today show.

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The figures also show revenue grew by 24% in 2017 and the total number of customer journeys was up by 19% to 6.6 million.

Lea Harrison, Edinburgh Trams managing director, said that the introduction of a new timetable had helped to the lift firm.

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He said: “In 2016 we returned our first operating profit a year ahead of schedule and, in 2017, financial performance has continued to exceed expectations.

“The introduction of a new timetable at the start of the year played a major part in this success, with a 23% increase in services encouraging more people to take the tram when visiting the city for business or pleasure.

"We’ve also worked hard to reduce journey times, with a trip between Edinburgh Airport and the city centre taking less than 35 minutes.”

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The Edinburgh Evening News reported that Mr Harrison cited moves such as the introduction of a contactless payment system and running additional trams as reasons for the financial success.

He added: “This passenger-focussed approach has seen Edinburgh Trams named as Operator of the Year at the prestigious Global Light Rail Awards and receive numerous accolades for excellence in customer service.

“We’re delighted at the support we’ve received from the travelling public, which is reflected in these financial results, and we’ll continue our efforts to further improve the customer experience.”

Edinburgh Trams also said rising customer numbers, 99% reliability and top customer service are the basis of the financial boost.