Transport for London (TfL) has announced that London’s Transport Commissioner, Andy Byford, will be leaving the organisation to resume life in the United States.
He retires from the role having delivered against the priorities he set at the start of his tenure – to get the Elizabeth line opened without any further delay, and to lead TfL out of the financial crisis caused by the pandemic. Byford will leave TfL at the end of October, closing out a 33-year public service career.
Current Chief Operating Officer Andy Lord will take on the role of commissioner on an interim basis.
Byford became Transport Commissioner in June 2020, working relentlessly to lead TfL out of the pandemic and to focus the organisation on the work of supporting London’s recovery. Key to this has been the opening of the Elizabeth line, over which he took personal control and which was opened by Her Majesty the Queen to widespread acclaim on 24 May.
Byford’s other major focus has been on ensuring a long-term funding agreement with Government, which enables TfL to support London’s recovery and gives certainty to staff, suppliers, and stakeholders both in London and in TfL’s supply chain that stretches across the country. Since the start of the pandemic TfL has secured around £6 billion in Government funding against a very difficult economic backdrop.
Byford has also overseen the creation of a new, more efficient organisational structure at TfL and the introduction of a new TfL vision and set of values, with the organisation now focussed on winning back customers, supporting the city’s economic recovery, and helping to build a greener city with sustainable transport at its centre.
Over the past few week, Byford also oversaw the delivery of transport plans to support the events marking the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. The influx to London of people wishing to pay their respects to Her Majesty presented TfL with a significant operational challenge, and required a huge coordinated effort with thousands of staff working around the clock.
Before TfL, Byford was President of New York City Transit, and it is to the United States that he returns after a transport career that has spanned 33 years and three continents.
He said: “When I came to TfL I set two clear priorities – to get the Elizabeth line open without further delay and to lead TfL out of the pandemic and into a financially sustainable future. The opening of the Elizabeth line was, without doubt, the highlight of my career – made truly poignant as it was one of the last major events attended by Her Majesty the Queen. It was an honour to meet her, and an honour to oversee the transport arrangements for the ceremonial events to mark her passing.
“With a longer-term financial settlement with Government now in place I can now leave with TfL set fair to move positively into the future – supporting London’s recovery from the pandemic and truly becoming the green heartbeat of the city.
“None of this would have been possible without the dedication and brilliance of the TfL leadership team, including Andy Lord who will now take up the mantle of interim Commissioner. Any success we have had, I dedicate to the thousands of transport professionals who set out every day to provide excellent service, to keep London moving, and to build a better transport network and a better city for this generation and for all yet to come.”
Andy Lord joined TfL in November 2019 as managing director of London Underground, and became chief operating officer for all of TfL’s operations earlier this year. As chief operating officer he is responsible for the safe, reliable, and effective operation of TfL’s entire rail services, which include London Underground and the Elizabeth line, along with London’s strategic road network, bus services, cycle hire, river services, London Cable Car and trams.
As managing director of London Underground, Lord led the transport network’s operational response to the Covid pandemic, ensuring London Underground and other TfL services kept running for key workers. He has been responsible for the safe and reliable introduction of Elizabeth line services, the Northern line extension, the upgraded Bank station, the extension of London Overground to Barking Riverside, and the completion of the automation of the Circle line. As TfL’s Chief Operating Officer, Lord has led the operational transport response for key events across the city, most notably The Platinum Jubilee and the ceremonial events marking the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.
Lord said: “The work of TfL staff has been key to London’s recovery from the pandemic so far. I am hugely honoured to take on this role and to have the opportunity to steer the organisation as it continues this work and focuses on making our city an even greener, safer and better place.”
Image credit: TfL