Seven months after Andy Byford took over NYC Transit, he got his first face-to-face with Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday — just days after telling The New Yorker it was a “bit weird” the two hadn’t yet met.
“I pushed him very hard on the need for funding over the next 10 years and the need for there to be substantial contributions from the city,” Byford said after the 90-minute meeting at City Hall, The New York Times reported.
The mayor’s office has long held the stance that the city’s aging and in-crisis MTA system is in the hands of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the agency.
In a statement after the meeting, de Blasio said the meeting mainly centered on how the city and NYC Transit, which oversees subways, buses, paratransit services and the Staten Island Railway, can work together on expanding bus service, implementing a mitigation plan for the L train shutdown coming in April 2019 and making accessibility improvements.
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Byford and de Blasio also agreed to have quarterly meetings and create a joint task force to improve collaboration efforts. The mayor also reiterated his demand “for New York City investment to go toward New York City transit, and for a long-term revenue source paid for by a tax on New York City's wealthiest residents,” the statement said.
De Blasio announced his proposal for a “millionaire’s tax” last summer, after Gov. Cuomo declared the MTA subway was in a state of emergency, and said such a tax could generate up to $800 million annually that would be used exclusively for transit.
5 fast facts about Andy Byford of NYC Transit
Before taking the helm of NYC Transit in January, Byford, 52, was CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which serves 1.8 million straphangers daily and is North America’s third-largest public transit system, for five years.
Here are a few more facts about Byford:
• He oversaw a modernization plan that improved operations, reduced delays and achieved record TTC customer satisfaction levels
• Under his leadership, the TTC updated its signal system and extended a subway line
• Due to those successes, the American Public Transportation Association named TTC Outstanding Transit System of the Year for 2017
• He was chief operating officer of Australia’s largest transit system in Sydney
• He spent 14 years with London Underground, overseeing three of its busiest subway lines — and increases in straphanger satisfaction and operational performance
In May, Byford unveiled NYC Transit’s 10-year Fast Forward plan to modernize the MTA system, which is more than a century old. The initiative includes updating the subway signal system, improving accessibility, an open-far payment system, adding more than 650 subway cars within the next five years and more.