The “train daddy” is apparently leaving us.
New York City Transit President Andy Byford, who oversees the city’s subways and buses, is stepping down for good. Both Byford and MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye confirmed the news, which Politico reported Thursday morning, in a statement the MTA released just before noon on Jan. 23.
“Andy Byford will be departing New York City Transit after a successful two years of service and we thank him for his work,” Foye said. “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.”
“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 added. “I’m very grateful to Governor 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.”
At this point, the reason for Byford’s departure is not yet known.
Byford had initially mulled resigning last October, but reconsidered and opted to stay on after Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan to reorganize the MTA.
After a stint as the transit boss in Toronto, Byford joined the MTA in 2017 and helped oversee improvements in a New York City subway system beset with infrastructure problems and delays.
In a tweet, Mayor Bill de Blasio described Byford’s resignation as “a real loss” for the city’s commuters.
“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,” he wrote.
The director of the Straphangers Campaign, Jaqi Cohen, said Byford’s resignation “marks a devastating loss for New York City’s 8 million transit riders,” and called upon the MTA to conduct a worldwide search for an equitable replacement.
“Byford came to the MTA as a world-renowned expert on transit systems, and his bold plan to transform the agency came at the height of New York City’s transit crisis,” Cohen said. “Byford’s vision of excellent transit service was one that New Yorkers believed in and stood behind.”
The head of transit advocacy group Riders Alliance applauded Byford for his service in a statement.
“Subway and bus riders are grateful to Andy Byford for his historic service at New York City Transit,” said Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin. “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.”
Gratitude aside, Raskin also reminded that Cuomo “is in charge of the MTA, and riders will be holding the governor accountable for the quality of our transit service.”
“With whatever management team he puts in place, the governor is on the hook for making subways faster and more reliable, rescuing buses from years of decline, and delivering on a $51 billion capital program to fix public transit for the long term,” he added.
So far, Cuomo’s office has yet to release a statement through the press office or on social media about Byford’s resignation. He’s holding a previously scheduled press conference at 1 p.m. this afternoon at his Midtown office.
This story originally appeared on amny.com.