Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'Train Daddy' is appointed as TfL's new transport commissioner

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Sadiq Khan appoints ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'the Train Daddy' as TfL's new ?335,000-a-year transport commissioner

  • Andy Byford's appointment was today confirmed by capital's mayor Sadiq Khan
  • Current commissioner Mike Brown will stay on until July 10, Byford starts June 29
  • Mr Byford was responsible for 50,000 staff while in charge of New York's subway
  • The 54-year-old left the role in January following repeated clashes with governor

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Andy Byford (above) has been appointed Transport for London boss, it was announced today

A former head of New York's public transport system will be London's next transport commissioner.

Andy Byford's appointment was confirmed by the capital's mayor Sadiq Khan and the board of Transport for London (TfL) and he will start on June 29.

Current transport commissioner Mike Brown will stay on until July 10 before taking up a new position overseeing the renovation of the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Byford will earn ?335,000 a year - the same amount Mr Brown was on - as well as get performance bonuses.

As president and chief executive of New York City Transit Authority, Mr Byford was responsible for 50,000 staff and devising a 40 billion US dollar (?33 billion) five-year investment plan to renew the city's transport system.

The 54-year-old left the role in January under a cloud following repeated clashes with governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'Train Daddy' is appointed as TfL's new transport commissioner

As president and chief executive of New York City Transit Authority (pictured, the city), Mr Byford was responsible for 50,000 staff and devising a 40 billion US dollar (?33 billion) five-year investment plan to renew the city's transport system

Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'Train Daddy' is appointed as TfL's new transport commissioner

Mr Byford was born on the Isle of Sheppey and grew up in Plymouth, before studying French and German at Leicester University. he later worked in Australia, Toronto and New York City

He was said to have frequent spats with Mr Cuomo throughout his two year tenure, despite being considered a rising star in the industry. 

Colleagues of both men said they each wanted credit for the subway's successes and clashed over the system's management, the New York Times reported. 

Critics said Mr Cuomo did not do enough to support Mr Byford, who he hired to run the foundering system.

But Mr Cuomo's allies suggested that Mr Byford did not do enough to get along with the governor and was reluctant to embrace new technology. 

Mr Cuomo also held meetings about the subway system, which he declared to be in a state of emergency, without Mr Byford.

In October, Mr Byford sent a letter of resignation where he named Mr Cuomo and suggested the governor sidelined him.

Mr Byford said Mr Cuomo initiated an agency overhaul that reduced his power and scaled back his duties.

He took this resignation back, but quit for good in January, with US news outlets attributing it mainly to a reduction in his authority.  

Mr Byford initially said he wanted to stay in New York but will now return to Britain to work for TfL, where he started his transport career.

Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'Train Daddy' is appointed as TfL's new transport commissioner Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'Train Daddy' is appointed as TfL's new transport commissioner

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (left) announced the move.

Mr Byford resigned from his previous post in New York City after falling out with Governor Andrew Cuomo (right)

Mr Khan said: 'I'm delighted to confirm Andy Byford as London's new transport commissioner.

'Covid-19 has had a profound impact on public transport in London but Andy brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise to lead TfL as it faces this unprecedented challenge.

'I look forward to working with Andy as we build a greener city with clean and environmentally-friendly travel, including walking and cycling, at the heart of its recovery.

Andy Byford's previous roles at TfL:

  • 1989 - 1992: Graduate Trainee
  • 1992 - 1994: Duty Station Manager 
  • 1994 - 1996: Group Station Manager - King's Cross St Pancras Group 
  • 1996 - 1998: Station Operations Manager - Jubilee Line Extension Project 
  • 1998 - 2000: Train Service Delivery Manager, Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City Lines 
  • 2000 - 2003: General Manager - Customer Service, Bakerloo, Central & Victoria Lines      

 

'I would like to place on record my gratitude to Mike Brown for everything he has done for the capital since starting at TfL in 1989.

I wish him the best of luck in his new role.'

Mr Byford was born on the Isle of Sheppey and grew up in Plymouth, before studying French and German at Leicester University.

He graduated with double honours and later gained a diploma in transport from the University of London.

He first joined TfL as a graduate trainee on the London Underground in 1989, before jumping through a number of different roles including duty station manager in 1992, group station manager for King's Cross St Pancras Group in 1994 and station operations manager for the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith and City Line 1996.

Mr Byford swapped the Underground for national services, becoming Operations and Safety Director for South Eastern Trains from 2003 to 2006 and subsequently Operations Director for Southern Railway from 2006 to 2009.

He decided to leave Britain when he was asked to be Chief Operating Office at RailCorp in New South Wales, Australia.

After two years Down Under he moved to Toronto, Canada, to take over as chief general manager of Toronto Transit Commission.

The 'Train Daddy' rose up the ranks there until he became CEO just a year later. 

He stayed in Canada for six years before making the 500-mile trip south to New York to become president of the city's Transit Authority. 

Ex-New York city subway boss dubbed 'Train Daddy' is appointed as TfL's new transport commissioner

Mr Byford (pictured in Toronto in 2016) said: 'I am delighted to be taking up the role of commissioner and to have been chosen to lead the organisation where I started my transport career over 30 years ago'

He joined at a time of crisis in the Big Apple and was tasked with modernising the subway system.

Only 58% of trains were arriving on time, the worst performance since the 1970s, and the service had become hugely unreliable.

Mr Byford envisaged long-term plans for the city's underground network and also looked to improve the city's buses.

He introduced a £836million plan to stabilise the neglected system, including upgrading tracks and plugging leaks that led to flooded train tracks.

But Mr Byford is returning to Britain as London's next transport commissioner after leaving his New York position.

He said: 'I am delighted to be taking up the role of commissioner and to have been chosen to lead the organisation where I started my transport career over 30 years ago.

'In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all transport authorities around the world will need to re-imagine how their services and projects contribute to the safe and sustainable re-start of the social and economic lives of the cities they serve.

'It is a huge challenge, but I know that Transport for London has some of the best people anywhere in the world and we will meet these challenges and will together help build an even better city for everyone.'

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