Transport for London Commissioner Andy Byford to depart

London’s Transport Commissioner, Andy Byford (pictured), is to step down in October and return to the United States, Transport for London (TfL) has announced. 

It comes after the delivery of Mr Byford’s two priorities as Transport Commissioner set out at the start of his tenure in June 2020: To open the Elizabeth line and lead TfL from the COVID-19 financial crisis.

Current Chief Operating Officer Andy Lord will take on the role of Commissioner on an interim basis.

Formerly President of New York City Transit, the change marks the end of this chapter in Mr Byford’s 33-year public service career. In his tenure at TfL he has worked on ensuring a funding agreement with the government, securing some £6bn since the start of the pandemic, and the creation of a new organisational structure at TfL building greener, sustainable transport.

“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,” says Mr Byford. “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.

“It has been a huge privilege to have served as Commissioner, back where I first started as a station foreman. I have been blessed to have had such an amazing transport and public service journey and now is the right time to bow out and resume life in the US with my wife. I have hugely appreciated the support of the Mayor and of two outstanding Deputy Mayors. Together we have navigated some dark days through the toughest period in TfL’s history, always seeking to look after our colleagues and our customers as we steered TfL towards a brighter future.

“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.” 

Adds Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan: “Andy Byford deserves huge thanks for his hard work and dedication, leading Transport for London through an exceptional time in its history.

“From keeping the city moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, to the historic opening of the Elizabeth line this year, Andy has provided Londoners with an exceptional service and his work has ensured that, despite the challenges we have faced, our public transport network remains world-class.

“I’m grateful to Andy Lord for stepping into the role of interim Transport Commissioner. Andy brings with him a wealth of experience and commitment to leading our city’s public transport network, and the recruitment for the new permanent Commissioner will commence shortly.

“I want to thank Andy Byford for his service to Londoners and, as he and his wife move back to the United States, I wish them all the very best.”