The president of New York City’s subways announced his resignation on Thursday, two years after being brought in to help turn around the beleaguered system.
No reason was given for the unexpected departure of Andy Byford, a British executive with experience in transit systems all over the world.
But there had also been tensions, notably with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who largely controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that includes the subways that Byford oversaw.
In a statement on his resignation, Byford said he was “very proud” of what had been accomplished during his tenure.
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.”
Patrick Foye, chairman and CEO of the MTA, said in a statement that Byford “was instrumental in moving the system forward.”
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.
Byford, who came to New York City from running the trains in Toronto and has also worked in Sydney and London, arrived to a system beset by delays and breakdowns. He has been credited with helping push through improvements that have improved how well the trains run.
The news of the resignation caused an outcry from city politicians and others lamenting his departure.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “This is a real loss for New York City’s subway and bus riders. The MTA needs people like Andy Byford — now more than ever.”
John Raskin, executive director of the public transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, said, “Subway and bus riders are grateful to Andy Byford for his historic service at New York City Transit. 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.”