New NYC Transit president Andy Byford takes subway to work

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- The MTA's new NYC Transit president rode the subway to his first day on the job Tuesday.

"This is a dream come true," said Andy Byford, who comes to New York after running the Toronto Transit Commission. "I haven't come here to be a tourist. I've come here to get the job done."

It's a job that will take all of his skills to run the massive 24/7 subway and bus system that moves this city.

"New Yorkers rightly hold their 24 subway dear to their hearts," Byford said. "But equally, they expect me to provide more reliable service. If they are to do that there is no gain without some pain."

He has already set priorities, starting with improving subway and bus reliability and critical upgrades as part of the massive Subway Action Plan. Another priority is to meet with city officials who have balked when it comes to funding improvements in the transit system.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he looked forward to working with Andy Byford.

"Despite disagreements with Albany, we work every day with the MTA," de Blasio said. "We work with them to create Select Bus Service and in so many other ways. They've been productive. My door is always open."

The new president will follow the progress of improvements by riding the subways and buses which will become part of his routine.

"I've never owned a car in my life," Byford said. "I don't intend to buy a car here. I will be riding the system every day. I make it a point of riding buses, as well as subways."

Another priority is to focus on employee morale, performance and development. He's expecting MTA workers to "up their game."

Byford began his career as a station foreman in London's underground system and left the Toronto system to come to New York City, where he doesn't shy away from the challenge.

"Absolutely hold me to account," he said. "Absolutely challenge me. Keep my feet to the fire, but let me get on with the job."

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