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London’s transport chief quits after simply two years

The pinnacle of Transport for London has stepped down after simply over two years within the job, a interval marked by political wrangling over the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the transport physique’s battered funds.

TfL on Thursday mentioned Andy Byford would go away in October for the US, the place he spent two years working public transport in New York Metropolis earlier than returning to the UK in June 2020 to guide the capital’s transport authority.

Byford is properly regarded by public transport executives, and his resignation is a blow to TfL.

He’ll go away having delivered the 2 aims he set himself upon becoming a member of: the opening of the long-delayed Elizabeth line and stabilising TfL’s funds.

“For me it’s not how lengthy you might be in a job, it’s what you obtain, and do you allow it in a greater state than which you discover it,” he instructed the Monetary Occasions on Thursday.

TfL was pressured to outlive for 2 years on short-term funding offers from the federal government amid acrimonious disagreement between ministers and Sadiq Khan, Labour mayor of London.

However the authority agreed a long-term deal late last month that can see the federal government help the restoration of the transport community till March 2024.

Ministers agreed to inject about £1.2bn in capital funding and subsidise fare losses if passenger numbers get well extra slowly than anticipated, taking the overall quantity pledged to help TfL by means of the pandemic to greater than £6bn.

However the deal contains powerful clauses, together with the necessity for TfL to search out between £500mn and £1bn of recent income-raising measures from April 2023.

Byford’s successor may also have to deal with contentious pension adjustments, that are anticipated to result in a conflict with unions.

Byford give up the New York subway physique after difficulties with political bosses, and mentioned his tenure in London had been “dominated” by “nearly nonstop negotiations”.

However he mentioned that had not been a think about his choice to go away and return to North America for household causes.

“The politics has been intense, however I get pleasure from that . . . there are not any exhausting emotions on my half,” he added.

He mentioned Khan had supplied TfL “immense” help, and that the deal lastly agreed with the federal government was “acceptable”.

One transport government mentioned the “temper music” between Khan’s Metropolis Corridor and the federal government had improved since Liz Truss grew to become prime minister and changed Grant Shapps as transport secretary with Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

“Simply when it appeared there’d be a interval of calm, [TfL] shall be rocked by the commissioner leaving his put up,” mentioned Nick Bowes, chief government of Centre for London, a think-tank.

“There are nonetheless some monumental challenges forward for TfL, and the mayor might want to transfer as shortly as attainable to get a brand new commissioner in place,” he added.

Byford first joined London Underground in 1989 as a foreman at Regent’s Park station, and went on to take senior positions on the general public transport networks in Sydney and Toronto.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief working officer, will substitute him on an interim foundation.

Lord joined TfL in 2019 as managing director of London Underground, and this 12 months grew to become chief working officer for all of TfL’s operations.

He spent nearly three a long time in industrial aviation, together with greater than 25 years at British Airways.

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