Seasoned transport executive Andy Byford is set to embark on the next chapter of an international career which has taken him from England to Australia, Canada and now the United States.
He has been credited with leading the resurgence of Toronto’s public transit system since his appointment as CEO of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) five years ago and will now cross over onto American soil to head up New York City Transit.
Describing it as “arguably the toughest job in transit right now”, Andy will oversee New York City’s subways, buses, paratransit services and the Staten Island Railway.
The chairman of state transport authority MTA Joseph Lhota said: “Our transit system is the backbone of the world’s greatest city and having someone of Andy’s calibre to lead it will help immensely, particularly when it comes to implementing the Subway Action Plan that we launched this summer.
“In order to truly stabilise, modernise and improve our transit system, we needed a leader who has done this work at world class systems and Andy’s successes in Toronto are evidence that he is up to this critically important task.”
Andy said that working for TTC has been the highlight of his 28-year transit career to date.
He began his transit career at London Underground where, over 14 years, he rose to the position of general manager of the Central, Bakerloo and Victoria lines. He later became chief operating officer of Australia’s largest rail network, Transport for New South Wales.
When he became TTC CEO five years ago, there were – and had never been – any women on the TTC executive but thanks to Andy’s work, 50 per cent of the senior team are women, all on merit.
In his farewell speech, he urged the transport agency to maintain the pressure on Bombardier for the full delivery of now delayed streetcars.
TTC chair Josh Colle said: “Since Andy joined the TTC six years ago, he has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to continuously improving the TTC, fighting for better transit, and for our customers.
“He has succeeded at all of that, and more. Andy created a vision for the TTC, and worked with mayor Tory and the TTC board to begin the necessary reinvestment in public transit that we have today.”
Andy began his career with the TTC, the third largest transit system in North America, in November 2011 as chief general manager. He will leave his role with TTC in mid-December 2017 and join New York City Transit in mid-January 2018.
Deputy CEO Rick Leary is expected to take over as acting CEO while a search is launched to find Andy’s replacement. A new CEO will be in place for July 1.