In the UK rail arm, where the group operates franchises including First Great Western and First Capital Connect, O'Toole has a clear message for the Government ahead of the unveiling of the rail review next spring.
"We hope that what comes out of this is longer franchises. If you get a longer franchise, you then have a shot at engagement with staff and that creates better transparency and causes people to lose their cynicism. That's a big barrier to the rail business right now."
For all of us who have spent a frustrating half-an-hour arguing with rail staff, that's quite an admission. He clearly sees such cynicism at FirstGroup? "It's in every rail business. There is something about the fact that the business has been there that long, with the trade union history and management relations, that it has this built in cynicism. You have to give people a chance to enjoy themselves and to care. The shorter franchises are a barrier."