Andy Byford exited MTA headquarters on Friday in similar fashion to the way he arrived in November 2017; but this time he was surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans.
Byford – now officially the former New York City Transit president – was walked down the main corridor of 2 Broadway with hundreds crammed into the lobby. The press, forced to wait outside the building, questioned the beloved figure as he walked to the same train line he came in on, the 4/5.
The transit guru attributed with initiating a plan to bring the subways and buses into the 21st century, and made historic strides in the process, assured the public the Fast Forward Plan should move along as he planned with $51 billion in funding approved in January.
With no successor named by the MTA to carry on where Byford has left off, there were questions as to what “Train Daddy” himself would advise for whoever takes over the task.
“I would hope that they would just keep doing what we’ve been doing, I would ask them to please do what I’ve done since Day One, which has been to cherish the staff. The frontline staff of this organization are amazing,” Byford said. “If I have a regret, I only have one regret and that’s that two of our staff lost their lives on my watch.”
Byford said that he did not have immediate plans for his professional, but he was on his way to meet Pete Tomlin for lunch to reflect on the last few years. For the time-being, he plans to keep his family in New York City.
“I just want to figure out what I want to do next, but I’m crystal-clear on one thing, I really want to stay in New York,” Byford said. “I have to revise my visa.”
Byford left his job as CEO with the Toronto Transit Commission for the challenge of turning around New York City’s ailing transit system and was appointed at the end of what Governor Andrew Cuomo described as the “summer of hell” for straphangers with systemwide meltdowns rail infrastructure overhauls in Penn Station.
Byford resigned in October as well, but backpedaled on the decision very quickly. Rumors, however, have it that Byford was fed up with gubernatorial interference in MTA matters, something to which he has never addressed.
There have been Freedom of Information requests for the original resignation letter which the MTA has not released.
This story first appeared on amny.com.