Amid Crisis, Toronto Transit Chief Is Named to Run New York Subway


Those selections have helped create a state of affairs by which simply 65 % of weekday trains attain their closing vacation spot on time, the bottom charge because the transit disaster of the 1970s. Unlike the ‘70s, when subways coated in graffiti turned emblems of city decay and the town confronted a monetary meltdown, the present issues are all of the extra galling to riders and advocates as a result of they arrive at a time when the town is booming and flush with tax revenues.

Exacerbating the issue and making options more durable to return by, City Hall and Albany stay divided over methods to tackle each the quick and long run monetary wants of the subways — a dynamic that Mr. Byford will seemingly must be taught to navigate shortly with a purpose to reverse the subway’s decline.

Mr. Byford is a British-born alumnus of each London and Sydney’s transit networks and this won’t be his first time coping with a system in turmoil. When he was named the top of the Toronto Transit Commission, often known as TTC, it was going through widespread criticism for delays and overcrowding.

“There’s a recognition that the TTC, which was once an absolute jewel in the province’s crown, has lost its way through lack of investment and, I’d say, political influence over the last 30 years,” he stated in an interview with Toronto Life in 2015.

Over the final a number of years, he has been credited with modernizing the system and paying extra consideration to addressing client want.

In 2017, the TTC was awarded the American Public Transportation Association award for Outstanding Transit System of the Year.

Toronto’s status as a livable metropolis with good transit has helped it develop to greater than 2.eight million individuals, on par with the inhabitants of Chicago.


Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was introduced on to badist tackle the persistent issues on the subway.

Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Still, the problem he faces in New York will seemingly dwarf what he has confronted up to now.

Toronto’s transit system — the third largest in North America — has about 1.7 million riders every weekday on its community of subways, streetcars and buses. New York City’s system serves practically six million day by day riders on the subway alone.

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Veronique Hakim led New York City Transit from the tip of 2015 till earlier this 12 months, when she was elevated to the manager committee of the M.T.A. Since her departure, a number of leaders have been positioned in command of the group on an interim foundation, most not too long ago Timothy Mulligan.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who controls the transportation authority, declared a state of emergency in June to badist velocity measures to cope with the crumbling subway system and directed Joseph J. Lhota, the authority’s chairman, to supervise the plan.

Under Mr. Lhota, officers have stepped up work to deal with among the root causes of delays: overcrowding, sick pbadengers and observe and sign issues.

Mr. Lhota introduced an $836 million motion plan to sort out essentially the most pressing wants, together with increasing fast response groups to repair observe issues; badigning emergency medical technicians at essential stations to cope with pbadengers needing medical help; and directing riders to much less crowded areas of a platform to make it simpler for them to get on and off trains.

“Our transit system is the backbone of the world’s greatest city and having someone of Andy’s caliber to lead it will help immensely,’’ Mr. Lhota said in a news release. “In order to truly stabilize, modernize and improve our transit system, we needed a leader who has done this work at world-clbad systems and Andy’s successes in Toronto are evidence that he is up to this critically important task.”

But an ongoing dispute between Mr. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over financing threatens to undermine the emergency plan. The state has agreed to pay for half of the invoice and has requested the town to pay for the opposite half. Mr. de Blasio has refused, saying the town already supplies sufficient cash for the subway.

Mr. Byford will oversee some 50,000 workers who’re part of NYC Transit and “the immediate and long-term modernization of one of the oldest and largest transit systems in the world,” in response to the M.T.A.

“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,” Mr. Byford stated in a press release.

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One of the important thing improvements Mr. Byford oversaw in Toronto was the rollout of open “gangway” vehicles, that are separated by open accordionlike pbadageways fairly than doorways. New York City is embracing the automotive design as a option to create extra room for subway riders and alleviate overcrowding.

Officials plan to order as much as 750 of the vehicles to run on the subway’s lettered strains.

Mr. Byford started his transit profession on the London Underground and spent over 14 years there, ultimately overseeing three of London’s busiest subways: the Central, Bakerloo and Victoria Lines.

Later he turned the chief working officer of Australia’s largest transit system in Sydney. He has been in cost in Toronto for the previous 5 years. Transportation officers stated his worldwide expertise will give him a bonus in bringing new concepts to the company when he badumes his position in January.

“Transit in a city as diverse as New York presents a unique set of challenges, and Andy’s global leadership experience make him well-suited for the task,” stated Phil Eng, the chief working officer of the M.T.A. “I welcome him aboard and look forward to working alongside him as we strengthen and grow the transit system.”

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