NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A veteran of the Toronto Transit Commission has been named the new president of New York City transit.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported Tuesday, Andy Byford, who has served as chief executive officer of the Toronto Transit Commission for five years, told reporters in Toronto that he knows he is taking the toughest job in transit right now.

“We are thrilled that Andy is going to lead NYC Transit during this time of great change,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a news release. “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, particularly when it comes to implementing the Subway Action Plan that we launched this summer. In order to truly stabilize, modernize and improve our transit system, we needed a leader who has done this work at world-class systems and Andy’s successes in Toronto are evidence that he is up to this critically important task.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory said his city’s loss is New York’s gain.

“Our system here in Toronto had a lot of problems when he came aboard. We had customer service issues. He had projects that were going on that were over budget and he managed to work with us to convince us here to make new investments in the system so that we could improve service,” Tory said.

Byford also ran the transit system in Sydney, and worked in London before that.

“He got the best people in the world to come to Toronto and work here on improving out transit system,” Tory said.

Byford said if his new job is New York City Transit President, it is an honor to be trusted with the huge responsibility to modernize the system.

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