By Philip Newman
MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast has appointed Carmen Bianco as president of the New York City Transit Authority after what the chairman called a nationwide search.
Bianco had served as acting president since April when the previous NYC Transit president, Prendergast, was named Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman.
“Carmen was my pick after a nationwide search because of his extensive background in safety, his management skills and his vision of guiding the system into the future,” Prendergast said. “Carmen is a leader with lengthy mass transit and railroad career experience. He understands the issues, is an advocate for the customer and will remain someone the employees can depend upon for support.”
Bianco, 61, led the subway system through the MTA response to Superstorm Sandy, which flooded tunnels, inundated stations and washed out tracks in the most devastating event to strike the vast network. Transit officials said he oversaw the immediate efforts to pump out water and make round-the-clock emergency repairs, construction work and long-term planning to prevent future flooding.
Bianco is a 30-year veteran of the transportation industry who served as head of NYC Transit’s Department of System Safety from 1991-96. He also held senior safety positions at Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. He returned to NYC Transit in March 2010 as senior vice president for subways before being named acting president of New York City Transit this spring.
“I am extremely proud yet humbled at being picked to lead the 45,000 men and women who make up New York City Transit,” Bianco said. “To perform this job to the best of my ability, I will need the assistance of each and every one of them.
“They are the people who go out on a daily basis and move New York City and were responsible for restoring service after Sandy.”
As head of subways, Bianco oversaw the restructuring of the Department of Subways, led development of the successful FASTRACK program of maintenance and continued New York City Transit’s introduction of new techniques, particularly those that improve customer communications and efficient train operation.
New York City Transit includes subways and buses, the Staten Island Railway and Paratransit.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.