Long train running
Howard Collins the Sydney Trains CEO has dedicated his life to making public transport an enjoyable experience.
Howard Collins has a long and distinguished career in the public transport industry. He spent 35 years with London Transport and can see the parallels between London and Sydney, as he sets about changing the fortunes of Sydney Trains, much like he did with England’s London Underground system.
“What I saw over that 35-year period in London, I feel we are almost reliving the same experience here in Sydney,” Collins says. “In the late 1970s and the early 1980s, London Transport was a rundown organisation doing everything from making meat pies to staircases as well as running buses and trains. It had 60,000 employees and was very much an operational business rather than customer focused. But in the time I was there, we went from 2.5 million users on the Tube every day to almost 4.25 million and the transformation from a grotty a air to something people are proud to use is fantastic.
“I came to Sydney probably at a time when the old rail system was thought to be a pretty rundown a air and we’re now seeing the transformation of the place.”
Collins says there is a great amount of focused investment being poured into Sydney Trains because people realise, as they did in London, that public transport is really the only way forward for growing global cities.
“London changed from being a 9 to 5 sort of place to being a 24 hour global city. It is one of the best cities in the world and through better transport, Sydney will build on its reputation as well.”
Collins is in a great position to turn Sydney Trains around. He has worked in every job imaginable on the rail network from sweeping platforms to driving trains and selling tickets.