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Andy Byford leaving TTC for NYC

Last Updated Nov 21, 2017 at 6:48 pm EDT

After more than five years, Andy Byford is stepping down as CEO of the TTC.

Byford will be taking over as president and CEO of the MTA New York City Transit, he announced at the TTC headquarters on Tuesday.

“A leader is only as good as their legacy and I believe that I leave behind a management team that is on a par with that found in any world class transit system,” Byford told the media.

Byford was hired by the TTC in November 2011 and was made CEO the following year, with the goal to modernize the transit system.

Some of his plans included updating the subway signal system, bringing in a state-of-the-art streetcar fleet and improving the relationship between transit users and employees.

“What I am most proud of, is what I would describe as my signature policy, and that is of changing the prevailing culture at the TTC. Because world class service can only be delivered through a highly motivated, well informed team that wants to succeed and that feels supported in their mission,” he explained.

Byford said that he deliberately changed the face of the TTC over his tenure.

“Five years ago, incredibly, there had never been a woman on the TTC executive. Now 50 per cent of my senior team are women, all on merit, and both the executive and the next two levels below are increasingly diverse.”

As he prepares to head out the door, Byford insisted that pressure be maintained on Bombardier to deliver the new streetcars.

As well, he said an “aggressive ridership program must be embraced” when the TTC’s next five-year plan goes before the board next year.

Wrapping up his announcement, Byford thanked his staff and other members of his board for their hard work, he also thanked all levels of government for their financial support in recent years, and the TTC riders.

“I’d like to thank the TTC’s customers for bearing with us while we work to modernize the system – a task that will continue for some time yet,” he said.

As well, he commended TTC employees for their efforts to push forward the necessary changes to push the transit system forward.

Byford’s final project will the opening of the subway extension on Dec. 17.

Deputy CEO Rick Leary will step in as interim CEO starting Dec. 22, and it’s hoped that a new head of the TTC will be in place by July 2018.

In a statement, Mayor John Tory thanked Byford for his leadership at the TTC.

“Mr. Byford has been no less than superb when it comes to taking the tens of millions of additional dollars City Council has given the TTC under my leadership and that of TTC Chair Josh Colle, and investing this new money quickly and wisely in restoring services previously cut and adding new service,” Tory said.

“I am confident that Mr. Byford leaves behind a solid management team that will continue his legacy here in Toronto of customer-focused transit.”

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