Entering his thirty-seventh year in transportation, Howard Collins has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as CE of Sydney Trains. He has worked on a variety of different projects and has seen the London Tube system go through two of its most challenging periods: the 2005 bombings and the 2012 Olympics, which Howard believes to be an instrumental chapter in his career.
"With 35 years in London transport and doing a lot of great things, I think that it culminated for me with the Olympics, which is the biggest transport event you're ever going to manage. It's a big event: transporting 500,000 people between the Olympic park and Westfield at Stratford. You really feel that you are delivering into the world a public transport system that worked really well. We pinched a lot of great ideas from Sydney in terms of staff engagement, visibility, and contact with our customers, which worked really well in 2000, and we certainly felt that we wanted to do the same."
Howard joined the company in June 2013, setting up a five- to ten-year program for the future of Sydney's railway system. "Id heard about the Fixing the Trains program launched by the new government that had decided to focus on customers and getting the basics right. That just rang true to me. That is what I did in London: we basically changed it around from an operational and engineering-led organisation to a customer-led organisation, focusing on the staff, their visibility, the cleanliness, announcements, and the ticketing system. It was almost like a dream come true that I could be part of another initiative like that again, having the great hindsight of learning a lot the first time, and realising that if I had my time again, I could do some things differently. I certainly felt there was opportunity here."