NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Transit Authority President Andy Byford, the man responsible for recent improvements in bus and subway service, ended a week of drama and uncertainty for the troubled Metropolitan Transportation Authority by publicly withdrawing a threat to resign.
It was a quintessential New York moment on Tuesday, Byford greeting a bevy of Bronx politicians while the ghost of Gov. Andrew Cuomo looked on, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
Yes, the ghost of Cuomo, because while the man responsible for fixing the city’s crumbing transit system was there to announce a Bronx bus redesign, his real reason was to signal that he is no longer haunted by the governor’s intense focus on fixing the troubled agency. Well, at least for now.
“The good news is I’m here to stay,” Byford said.
It’s also good news for transit riders, because under Byford’s leadership there have been more on-time trains.
And stations are cleaner. He even picks up station litter and carries it around until he finds a trash basket, so it won’t get onto the tracks.
Web Extra: MTA Update On Bronx Bus Service Improvements:
Last week, Byford submitted a resignation letter, the first time he put in writing the gazillion times he’s voiced frustration with the governor’s roll at the MTA.
“This is my life’s ambition to do this job and I knew it would come with challenges,” Byford said. “I had a few concerns that I wanted addressed.”
Byford, sources told Kramer, has chaffed at Cuomo’s push for the agency to find the most up-to-date technology for fixing the system, with the least amount of rider inconvenience, like the governor’s veto of Byford’s plan for fixing the “L” train in favor of his own.
Sources said the tension between the two men stems from the fact that Byford sees himself a preeminent transit expert and Cuomo sees himself as the man responsible for pushing the preeminent transit expert to do even better.
When asked to talk about his relationship with the governor amid reports he has been frustrated with Cuomo’s desire to impose certain technologies, and to shed some light on each man’s respective roll with the MTA, Byford said, “At the end of the day, the governor and I want the same thing. The governor wants transit improved in this city and he wants that done quickly. So do I. So, we are on the same page.”
Byford said his concerns have been satisfactorily addressed, but he refused to say how. All this comes as the state is about to impose a controversial congestion pricing plan to raise the billions needed to bring the transit system into the 21st century.