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Andy Byford, Ex-M.T.A. Leader, Steps Down as London Transport Commissioner


Сен 22, 2022

Andy Byford, who rose to prominence during a high-profile stint as New York City’s subway chief, announced his resignation as the head of London’s transit system on Thursday, saying that he would be moving back to the United States.

It was not immediately known what Mr. Byford would do next, but Transport for London said in a statement that he was “closing out a 33-year public service career.”

Mr. Byford was affectionately nicknamed “Train Daddy” when he led the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York from 2017 to 2020, a name that did not catch on overseas.

He arrived in London in June 2020 with two main tasks: opening the long-delayed Elizabeth line, a $22 billion-plus railway designed to cut travel times across the capital, and stabilizing the system’s finances through the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

He achieved both: The new line opened to giddy riders this spring, and the agency secured a long-term funding agreement with the government in August. He also managed an influx of visitors and logistical challenges after the death of Queen Elizabeth II this month.

“I have been blessed to have had such an amazing transport and public service journey and now is the right time to bow out and resume life in the U.S. with my wife,” Mr. Byford said in a statement.

Andy Lord, the chief operating officer of Transport for London, will take over as interim commissioner.

Mr. Byford was revered in New York, a city that does not often show affection for its leaders, let alone for the head of a troubled transit agency that elicits few positive feelings. On his last day in the job, crowds of workers gathered and cheered him, fighting to snap selfies.

During his New York tenure, on-time rates improved, fewer trains broke down, and many riders dared to hope that things might get better. But he clashed repeatedly with Andrew M. Cuomo, then New York’s governor, a conflict that led in part to his departure.

The move to London was something of a homecoming for Mr. Byford, who grew up in Plymouth, England, and was a station manager on the London Underground early in his career. In May, the queen attended the opening of the line that is named for her, which Mr. Byford said in a statement was, “without doubt, the highlight of my career.”

In an interview in May, he said that, while he had enjoyed his time in New York, “I’m really enjoying almost complete anonymity in London.”

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