Andy Byford began his new job as the President of New York City Transit Tuesday. He took a downtown 4 train from Grand Central to Bowling Green, which is in front of MTA Headquarters.
He plans to be a regular rider of the subway and bus. He described his first commute as "flawless."
“New York City’s public transit system has driven New York City to become the bustling, successful metropolis that it is, and it’s an honor to be trusted with the huge responsibility to modernize the system and bring it to the high levels of performance and customer service that New Yorkers truly deserve and rightfully expect,” Byford said.
Byford acknowledged the challenges ahead and the age of the New York City system.
NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer welcomed him to the city via an Instagram post and invited him to an transit town hall in Queens.
"Just read that new Transit Pres Andy Byford had a flawless commute. Congrats and welcome. No such luck on the 7 right now," Councilmember Van Bramer wrote.
Byford has worked for the London Underground system, railway in Australia and he was the CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission, the third largest transit system in North America, for five years. He says his priorities are improving service on subways, buses and in paratransit service.
He has a daunting task ahead of him. New York City has one of the oldest and largest transit systems in the world. Byford will be responsible for ensuring the success of the Subway Action Plan, which aims to stabilize and modernize the entire system.
He called for a new spirit of work with transit crews and greeted some on his way into the office.
On his first day on the job, Byford said he is committed to improving the cleanliness, reliability, and safety of the transit systems. He addressed the issues he would like to see fixed, including declining bus ridership and lack of accommodations for people with mobility impairments.
"I haven't come here to be a tourist, I've come here to get a job done," he said.