New York City Transit President Andy Byford resigning

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Transit President Andy Byford is stepping down effective February 21, MTA officials announced Thursday.

"Andy Byford will be departing New York City Transit after a successful two years of service, and we thank him for his work," MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said in a statement. "Andy was instrumental in moving the system forward, enacting the successful Subway Action Plan and securing record capital funding with the Governor and the Legislature, and we wish him well in his next chapter."

Byford began his tenure in January of 2018 and was previously the CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission, a position he held for five years. He came to the MTA at a time when the subways were dealing with mounting delays, money issues and questions about mismanagement.

Subway delays decreased under his watch, and he had an ambitious plan to continue to transform the system.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved as a team over the past two years, and I believe New York City Transit is well placed to continue its forward progress now that the MTA has a record breaking $51.5 billion Capital Program in place," Byford said in a statement. "I'm very grateful to Governor (Andrew) Cuomo, Chairman Foye and members of the Board for giving me the opportunity to serve New York and to head up North America's largest transit system."

Speaking briefly at a board meeting Thursday after his resignation became public, Byford thanked Cuomo for giving him the opportunity and gave him credit for the efforts he and the Legislature made in securing capital funds for system improvements.

He thanked New Yorkers "for bearing with me, putting up with me, giving me this wonderful opportunity to live in this amazing place. This really is the absolute pinnacle of any transit professional's career...It's been my honor and privilege to serve New Yorkers."

It's not the first time Byford has submitted a resignation letter, though he changed his mind and rescinded last year.

"I'm not going anywhere," Byford said in October. "The governor and I are on exactly the same page about the need to dramatically improve the transit system in New York, and we now have the plan and the funding to do that."

Cuomo, at his own event Thursday afternoon, called Byford "a good man...I wish him well. I think he did good work."

He pushed back against questions over whether he and Byford got along.

"I've had a fine relationship with Andy," he said.

During his time at the Toronto Transit Commission, Byford reduced subway delays in the city and improved overall satisfaction rates among passengers.

"This is a real loss for New York City's subway and bus riders," Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter. "The MTA needs people like Andy Byford - now more than ever."

Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin also issued a statement.

"Subway and bus riders are grateful to Andy Byford for his historic service at New York City Transit," he wrote. "In two years, Andy made subways faster and more reliable, he tackled longstanding challenges to improving bus service, and he crafted the first plan in a generation that would truly modernize the transit system."

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