As a recognised, world-class operator of sustainable rail transport services, MTR Corporation is a leader in safety, reliability, customer service, and efficiency. We learn more with Property and International Business Director, David Tang.
ENABLING A BETTER-CONNECTED TOMORROW
Throughout history, railways have contributed to the growth of cities by allowing people to travel further and faster, thus fostering the tight connection between people and the community. This connectedness enables people to live further from their places of work, visit their loved ones, explore new places, and experience diverse communities. It serves as a vital link to enhance connectivity and promote social cohesion within the city.
As a company that is fully aware of the importance that rail travel plays in society, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) was established in 1975 with a resolute mission to construct and operate under safety and reliability, and act as the backbone of Hong Kong’s public transport system while building and connecting communities with quality caring services.
Over the past decade, MTR’s unique ‘Rail plus Property’ integrated development model not only seamlessly connects railway services with people, but also creates fully integrated new communities comprising residential, commercial, and retail facilities, which promotes the growth and development of the city, and is environmentally sustainable in the long run.
“The Rail plus Property model is effective in using the income from property development to fund the construction, maintenance, and upkeep of railway projects. This model allows us to maintain high-quality rail services without the need for government subsidies, resulting in financial sustainability in the long run,” opens David Tang, Property and International Business Director at MTR.
Today, MTR is recognised as one of the best-performing and highest-quality rail operators in the world. With more than 50,000 dedicated staff around the globe, MTR carries over 11.5 million passenger journeys worldwide every weekday in Hong Kong, Australia, the UK, Sweden, China, and Macau.
Australia is one of MTR’s key markets. The nation is focused on passenger outcomes, deploying new technology, and remains abundantly clear that highly experienced metro operators are the preferred partner of choice for Australian clients who are looking to maximise their investments and grow communities around transport infrastructure.
“It is exciting to see the scale of rail transportation investment over the last 15 years across Australia, and we are excited about the strong pipeline going forward,” he enthuses.
CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF SERVICE EXCELLENCE IN AUSTRALIA
MTR is thrilled to be celebrating its 15th year of dedicated service in Australia. Having first started local operations in 2009, MTR is now the joint venture lead for the Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) and Metro Trains Sydney (MTS) franchises, and is delivering the trains and systems package for the next automated metro in Sydney.
“The company has made an enduring impact on public transport in Australia, and we are excited to share our journey and commitment to shaping a bright future for rail travel,” introduces Tang.
As a vital component of MTR’s global network, the Australian operations aim to deliver global best practices and continually improve transport options to better serve the communities around them.
MTR’s Australian journey began with MTM, which has over 7,000 employees who help to operate more than 60,000 train services each month. MTM is an essential part of Melbourne’s urban fabric, and in the last 15 years has seen significant improvements in service reliability and performance, passenger satisfaction, and gender diversity.
In Sydney, MTS has set new standards for transport options with its fully automated metro services that boast an on-time performance rating of over 99 percent and passenger satisfaction exceeding 99 percent.
In 2014, MTR partnered to deliver the groundbreaking Sydney Metro Northwest project and successfully brought fully automated passenger services to Australia in 2019.
MTR’s involvement in operations and maintenance, construction, and financing has been integral to this benchmark-setting railway that the city now enjoys. The automated services between Tallawong and Chatswood are consistently on-time, and recent data shows incredible levels of passenger satisfaction, making MTS the overall leader in the Australian rail industry.
A TRANSFORMATIVE EXTENSION TOWARDS THE HEART OF SYDNEY
This year, the high-performing MTS team is preparing for the opening of the Sydney Metro City and Southwest line which will see MTS operate the first ever automated trains under the Sydney Harbour into Sydney’s Central Business District.
“As we prepare for the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project, MTS leverages MTR’s global expertise in operational readiness and new line openings, as demonstrated by the successful opening of eight metro lines in recent years around the world,” Tang enthuses.
The Sydney Metro City and Southwest project represents a transformative milestone where MTR’s Australian presence extends from operator to trains and systems integration, delivered by a 150-strong team of local and international experts ensuring successful execution. Additionally, the company’s Rail plus Property model aims to enhance the value of developments, fostering interconnected communities.
“We are excited to share our progress at the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project, where our involvement goes beyond our operations and maintenance responsibilities, as we deliver the trains and systems package. In addition, we also act as the overall systems integrator, harnessing the expertise of our global experience,” he adds.
For this impressive undertaking, MTR utilises a dedicated team of professionals working diligently to blend local and international expertise, creating a synergy of construction and system integration skills. This approach is crucial to the successful execution of this intricate project.
Elsewhere, to date, MTM’s focus on diversity has been nothing short of transformative.
“We’ve made vast strides in improving gender diversity, with 550 female train drivers among our 1,300-strong team. Meanwhile, passenger satisfaction has surged to over 75 percent, and on-time performance has significantly improved, surpassing 92 percent,” Tang acclaims.
Regarding equality and enhanced opportunity, in 2009, there were just 26 women driving trains on Melbourne’s network; now, there are more than 550. MTR’s focus on breaking down barriers for women has included facility upgrades at Flinders Street Railway Station, inclusive uniform sizes and styles, and gender-neutral protective equipment.
Additionally, MTM has been a key partner in the Victorian Government’s Big Build programme, ushering in a modern rail network with new trains, enhanced timetables, the removal of 72 level crossings, and the construction of a new tunnel and stations, benefitting the entire city.
Over the 15 years that MTR has been operating and constructing in Australia, it has built strong relationships with local supply chains and technology innovators. This ranges from selecting the strongest suppliers to deliver new metros to recruiting the best talent and continuing to develop them into home-grown industry leaders.
MTR also invests heavily in technology that delivers improvements to its global operations. Its technology arm, MTR Labs, delivers innovation across its rail and property portfolio, including artificial intelligence (AI) tools to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, as well as smart mobility tools. The teams also work with local technology providers to deliver benefits for local clients. In Australia, this is providing gamechanging performance tools through data management as well as in the UK through data-driven performance and operation optimisation tools.
EXPERTISE FOR THE FUTURE
Moving forward, MTR Australia will continue to share knowledge from the global network it belongs to and ensure that the vision and values laid out by its parent company are deployed locally.
2024 marks the 45th anniversary of MTR, a significant milestone for a corporation that has played a vital role in connecting and growing communities over the past decades.
“We aim to become recognised as the best and most unique rail operator by focusing on delivering what customers really want through leveraging our world-leading performance in providing integrated railway services to capture construction, operation, and maintenance opportunities, as well as adapting our business models to suit the Australian context,” Tang excites.
As a low-carbon transport provider serving the public with the purpose of keeping cities moving, MTR strives to contribute to the sustainable development of society.
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of the three environmental and social objectives of the company. As such, over the past year, MTR has actively implemented a series of green initiatives in transport services, property businesses, and new railway development projects to reduce GHG emissions. Meanwhile, MTR is supporting Hong Kong in achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Furthermore, the company’s commitment to excellence is evident in its proactive approach to knowledge sharing and collaboration. Global sharing sessions are allowing the business to harness the collective intelligence of its international teams to solve real-world problems by the teams who are facing them. As MTR continues to evolve, these sessions serve as a testament to the power of global collaboration in driving innovation and operational excellence.
By facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences, MTR is not only strengthening its internal capabilities but also contributing to the broader advancement of the transportation industry. As the company looks towards the future, the lessons learned from these global sharing sessions will undoubtedly continue to shape MTR’s journey towards excellence on a global scale.
With vast expertise spanning various aspects of public transport, a global network for knowledge sharing, and a commitment to shaping the future of Australian public transport, MTR remains enthusiastic regarding its plans to continue to share prosperous collaboration across the sector.
“Together, we’ll continue to make a positive impact on Australia’s public transport system, and we look forward to continuing successful partnerships and collaborating with clients to realise their visions well into the future,” he finishes proudly.