NEW YORK - From the subway to the tube, Andy Byford, the former chief of New York's subways and buses, is taking the top transit job in London.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced Wednesday he was tapping Byford to become commissioner of Transport for London, overseeing a larger transportation portfolio - managing trains, taxis, and a cycling and bike share network - than he did as MTA's president of NYC Transit.

What You Need To Know

  • Andy Byford ran NYC Transit for two years before resigning after clashing with Gov. Cuomo.

  • Byford started his transportation career at Transport for London as a uniformed station foreman.

  • Byford will get a raise, will earn £355,000, or more than $435,000, as TfL commissioner.


Byford, who is from England and started his transit career in London, will be stepping into a unique challenge: planning for post-pandemic transportation that allows commuters to keep a safe distance from each other and keeps London from falling victim to gridlock and congestion.

"Andy is going to, and I think will be very good at it, figure out how to work with the staff of TfL with the front-line workers and with regular riders and businesses to figure out a strategy for making people feel comfortable and confident to ride the system again," said Lisa Daglian, director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

"New York can learn from London. I'm sure that London will learn from New York, in that Andy will bring many of the things he's learned from here over there," she said.

Byford said in a statement his job will be a "huge challenge" in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all transport authorities around the world will need to reimagine how their services and projects contribute to the safe and sustainable re-start of the social and economic lives of the cities they serve," Byford said.

But he has cut a reputation as a transit executive who can meet challenges.

Byford left New York after managing a turnaround of a subway and bus system in crisis. He secured a $40 billion capital program that will pay for a modern, computerized signal system and an increase in the number of stations with elevators.

In his time at the MTA, he became a popular public figure in the city, known for taking public transit while wearing a name tag and frequently meeting transit workers.

He earned the nickname "Train Daddy," bestowed to him by an artist who put his face on stickers.

But two years into his job, he resigned in January after clashing repeatedly with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and getting sidelined in his post.

After giving up his job in New York, Byford had to go back to the U.K. for visa purposes, but vowed to return to New York, and stay there for good.

But he has been stuck in his hometown of Plymouth, England, since the pandemic erupted, unable to return to New York.

Now, he's returning to the transit agency where he started his career, working his way up from a station foreman in the London Underground, to managing stations and railways.

Then, he held executive posts in Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada, before coming to New York.

"Covid-19 has had a profound impact on public transport in London but Andy brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise to lead TfL as it faces this unprecedented challenge," Mayor Khan of London said in a statement.