MTR has a profound responsibility to the people of Hong Kong. Our fulfilment of this responsibility is ingrained in our values and visible in our core strengths: our people, our operational performance and our role in connecting communities with caring service.
In 2014, we marked the 35th anniversary since we first started serving the Hong Kong community. From a local railway company to becoming a leading multinational corporation, MTR has indeed come a long way. However, in the last year, our understanding of this responsibility was tested, which has caused us to reflect and refocus on building on our core strengths.
The first part of 2014 was an especially challenging period for the Company. We had to contend with delays in our new railway infrastructure projects, service delays in our transport operations and criticism over our handling of the dog-on-track incident. These setbacks caused us to examine how we respond to the concerns of our customers and how we report to and engage with our stakeholders.
In the latter part of 2014, we encountered challenges of a different nature. One of these challenges was the public activities on the streets of Hong Kong, which closed off roads and significantly increased passenger volumes on our trains and in our stations. This increase in ridership enhanced our focus on safety, underscored the importance of clear communication with our passengers and called upon the can-do spirit of our employees. Staff came together from across our organisation, including retired employees who returned to lend a hand and our on-the-ground staff who volunteered in our “Pink Rangers” station ambassador programme. Working as one team, they provided the world-class service that passengers have come to expect and helped them reach their destinations on time.
Another challenge at the end of 2014 was preparing for the opening of the Island Line Extension to Western District. Thanks to the untiring efforts of all staff involved, we were able to ensure a smooth start to the service and connect this area of Hong Kong to the MTR network for the first time.
While the events of the past year have shown that we need to maintain the positive aspects of our performance, culture and values, we have also learned three key lessons. First is the need to focus on what truly matters to our stakeholders. We aim to do this by enhancing our engagement with them so we can understand and meet their needs more effectively, and strengthening the collaborative environment within our teams, allowing for more diverse but constructive views and the means to find solutions together.
The second key lesson is the importance of openness and transparency in building trust with our stakeholders. There will be times when we may not meet stakeholders’ expectations. For instance, while we will do our best to avoid unplanned delays and incidents from happening, it is our aim to communicate these issues in a more transparent and timely manner. We also recognise that enhanced governance is critical as we execute and deliver complex and difficult construction projects for the people of Hong Kong. This is reflected in the addition of the Capital Works Committee and Risk Committee at the Board level in 2014.
The third lesson is the benefit that our ongoing investment will bring as we grow together with Hong Kong and beyond. Our city is a dynamic place that is constantly evolving and creating new opportunities and challenges. We will therefore continue investing in our staff, particularly the new generation replacing our more experienced staff members as they retire. We will also continue to invest in infrastructure and equipment, as well as our rail and station operations in order to enhance our services. And finally, we will continue to invest in Hong Kong in more meaningful ways to build vibrant and prosperous communities for the benefit of all.
In the 35 years since our first rail line opened, we have grown alongside the city and the people we serve. They have motivated us to build and deliver this world-class service. And it is their lives — our customers, employees and partners — that we celebrate in this year’s report. We are inspired by their example; they are truly the life of our city.
It is our privilege to continue serving the people of Hong Kong as well as customers in cities around the world where we operate. We look forward to the next stage of our journey with you.
Chief Executive Officer
05 May 2015