After Andy Byford resigns as transit chief, New Yorkers lament the loss of ‘Train Daddy’

January 24, 2020

NYCT President Andy Byford spent New Year’s Eve 2019 going around the system thanking Transit employees and our partners in the NYPD. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit via Flickr

Two years into his tenure as New York City Transit chief, Andy Byford resigned on Thursday, Politico first reported. The British native came to NYC in January 2018—in the aftermath of the transit system’s so-called “Summer of Hell”—after running the Toronto Transit Commission for five years. Byford inherited a state of emergency but hit the ground running as soon as he arrived. He’s been credited with boosting the subway’s on-time rate from only 58 percent to 80 percent, securing funding to upgrade signal systems, and putting an emphasis on accessibility. Praised by riders and transit advocates, Byford earned the nickname “Train Daddy” which exploded on Twitter following the news of his resignation. Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite social media reactions to the news.

Andy Byford, MTA
Then-NYC Transit President Andy Byford discussing plans for the Queens Bus Network Redesign with customers during a community outreach event in Jackson Heights on January 15, 2020, days before he resigned. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit via Flickr

Despite his stature among New Yorkers, Byford’s tenure was marred by his political clashes with Governor Andrew Cuomo. In his resignation letter, Byford alluded that the governor had scaled back his duties to “focus solely on day-to-day-running of service.” Despite his achievements, “Cuomo never seemed able to just put his arm around Byford and soak up some of the credit,” Dana Rubinstein wrote in the original Politico report. “Rather, he seemed, at times, to view him as a rival.”

Byford’s last day of service will be February 21. “I am very proud of Fast Forward, the blueprint that my team created for implementing the changes required to bring NYCT back into the top echelon of public transit systems,” Byford continued in his resignation letter. “Now, with funding for the plan secured and with the new Chiefs of Innovation, Technology, Transformation, etc., on board to implement it, I am confident that you have the tools to succeed.”

Nevertheless, city officials and commuters alike were blindsided by the announcement. Here are some of the reactions:

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