TfL: London transport chief Andy Byford to leave role – BBC


London's transport commissioner Andy Byford is to stand down.
Mr Byford has been in charge of Transport for London (TfL) for a little over two years, during which time it has been kept afloat by repeated government bailouts.
He recently secured a long-term funding deal for TfL, whose revenues plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Byford, previously boss of the New York Subway, said it was the right time to resume life in the US with his wife.
The 57-year-old, who oversaw the opening of the Elizabeth line earlier this year, has spent more than 30 years in the transport industry.
After announcing his resignation, Mr Byford told BBC Radio London's Eddie Nestor he still had "five weeks to go" and wanted to ensure the new Bond Street station opened on the Elizabeth line.
"You should aim to leave an organisation in a better state than you found it," he said.
"When you leave a job, there is always more to do. We have a new vision and values for the organisation.
"It has been an intense two-and-a-half years, I've had about 10 days off."
Mr Byford praised TfL's 27,000-strong workforce as he said his proudest moment came in May when he met Queen Elizabeth II as she made a surprise visit to Paddington station to open the Elizabeth line.
This video can not be played
Watch: The Queen makes surprise visit to Elizabeth line and is given an Oyster card
"We only knew with fairly short notice," he said. "She was a little frail, and we knew we had Prince Edward, but it was only that morning we knew we had the Queen attending.
"It was the most fabulous moment. Nothing will top that. She loved it, going down the lift she said to me 'wow it is just beautiful and the stations are stunning'."
His replacement will be announced in due course, but TfL said former London Underground managing director and current TfL Chief Operating Officer Andy Lord would take over as interim commissioner.
Mr Byford continued: "With a longer-term financial settlement with government now in place I can now leave with TfL set fair to move positively into the future – supporting London's recovery from the pandemic and truly becoming the green heartbeat of the city.
"It has been a huge privilege to have served as commissioner, back where I first started as a station foreman.
"I have been blessed to have had such an amazing transport and public service journey and now is the right time to bow out and resume life in the US with my wife."
By BBC London transport correspondent Tom Edwards
Andy Byford arrived in London from running the New York subway with a stellar reputation and a nickname – the Train Daddy.
The role of commissioner is not straightforward – it's part politician, part transport boss.
He guided TfL through the most challenging period in its history – during the pandemic as passengers stayed away and revenues plummeted.
While negotiating government funding, he was affected by the strained relations of a Labour-run City Hall and the Conservative government.
Gregarious and popular with his staff, Mr Byford seemed like he was in the job for the long term and his departure is a big loss for London.
His successor faces significant challenges though – TfL needs to make more cuts while executive pay and bonuses continue to attract criticism.
There will probably be more industrial action over pension reform, but after just over two years in the job, Andy Byford has decided he has done his time at the helm.
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