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New York City subway’s ‘train daddy’ resigns after spats with Cuomo

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  • New York City Transit lost its chief on Thursday. 
  • Andy Byford, a global expert hired by the transit authority in 2017 to fix its crumbling subway system, resigned. 
  • His exit follows high-profile power struggles with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a reported resignation attempt in 2018. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state agency responsible for city subways, buses, and commuter rails, confirmed his departure in a statement to Business Insider.

“Andy Byford will be departing New York City Transit after a successful two years of service and we thank him for his work,” Pat Foye MTA chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“Andy was instrumental in moving the system forward, enacting the successful Subway Action Plan and securing record capital funding with the Governor and the Legislature, and we wish him well in his next chapter.”

Before New York, Byford previously worked in London, Toronto, and Australia. His arrival in New York largely signaled a seismic shift for the aging subway system following decades of underinvestment.

During his tenure as transit chief, New Yorkers were treated to improvements in subway communication as well as several high-profile projects designed to speed up commutes and replace aging parts of track, signals, and more.

Byford also became a popular figure among New York transit aficionados, earning the nickname “Train Daddy” after an anonymous resident began posting stickers of Byford’s face superimposed on a subway car with the text “Train Daddy loves you very much.” A photo of the sticker quickly spread on Twitter, and the moniker became widely used across social media. The MTA seemingly embraced the term for its subway chief, with Byford himself joking about the title.

This time its goodbye for good.

In October 2018, Politico reported Byford had submitted a resignation letter to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo, citing frustration in working with his office and the state agency. In the end, MTA leadership ended up convincing him to stay, with promises to give him more control over projects, according to Politico.

But less than three months later, those promises appear to not have materialized. And on Twitter, news of his final resignation sent shockwaves among transit-loving communities and elected officials. 

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