The Railway Procurement Agency, which set up Luas, said today that the Dublin light rail system made a financial surplus, before tax, for 2005 of €985,000, up from €680,000 in 2004.

The company said that the strong financial performance is ahead of projections, which anticipated a slower build-up to stronger passenger revenues. It said it compares favourably with similar light rail systems internationally.

The Rail Procurement Agency says that Luas is the only public transport system operating without subsidies in Ireland.

Last year an average of more than 60,000 people travelled on the system daily. Passenger numbers continue to increase, with figures for last month revealing a 30% jump on May 2005.

The Luas system cost €775m to build. Its first line to Sandyford in Dublin began services two years ago and the second line to Tallaght opened shortly afterwards.

The RPA says that during 2005, Luas travelled 2.465 million kilometres and carried 22.2 million passengers.