Safety is our highest priority in whatever we do as a business, and our performance is monitored by our Safety & Environment Committee.
All of our Non-Executive Directors are members of our Safety & Environment Committee which is responsible for reviewing and challenging constructively the structure, content and operation of the safety management arrangements put in place by management. Chris Muntwyler chairs this Committee and, in addition to the formal Committee meetings, receives regular input from the Group Safety Director on safety performance across the Group and its independent monitoring by Arthur D Little.
To complement the formal reporting lines in place and to witness first-hand how our safety management arrangements are embedded within our operations, Chris takes the opportunity, wherever possible, to visit key sites and engage with local management.
In September, he paid a visit to one of our newly acquired businesses in North America – Trans Express based in Brooklyn, New York. He met with the previous owners, including the General Manager, Mary Rubino, in order to welcome them to National Express and to gain an insight into how they manage and live our Safety values.
Following meetings with local management and a tour around their bus maintenance facility, Chris gained a better understanding of their business and the new opportunities being explored. Considering the high standards and initiatives set across the Group, Chris said: “I am very pleased to see how dedicated everybody is at Trans Express to safety and how stable the respective processes are.” He left Trans Express with the impression of a very strong and motivated team under Mary Rubino’s leadership.
Our first German rail services on the Rhine–Münster Express lines launched in mid-December with 35 new Talent 2 electric trains, built by Bombardier, which we procured on behalf of the local authorities. Prior to the start-up of operations, Chris took the opportunity to visit the train manufacturer in Berlin to gain a first-hand impression of the quality of the new trains and to meet with Bombardier management. They replace older and, in many cases, less accessible trains.
“With these new trains, we hope to achieve a dramatic quality and reliability improvement for our train customers in the Cologne area. Not only did we choose the latest and most reliable technology, but these trains bear the full National Express brand inside and out,” he said.