TfL commissioner Andy Byford has announced he will step down from his role at the end of October.
Byford said he decided to leave the organisation after he met “two clear priorities” set at the beginning of his tenure in June 2020: opening the Elizabeth line, and leading TfL out of the pandemic and onto a better financial footing.
The Elizabeth line, known as Crossrail during its construction phase, opened to passengers in May, three-and-a-half years late and nearly £4bn over budget. One of the stations on the line, Bond Street, which faced extra delays, is currently set to open by 6 November.
Byford said the launch of the Elizabeth line was “without doubt, the highlight of my career”.
Last month, TfL agreed a long-term funding package with the UK government, following months of discussion. The deal includes £3.6bn worth of capital investment until 2024, and guarantees that work to upgrade Bank Station and reopen Hammersmith Bridge will be carried out.
Prior to his appointment as commissioner, Byford was president of New York City Transit Authority, and had also worked for railway networks in Sydney and Toronto. He will return to the United States after he concludes his work with TfL.
Byford will be replaced on an interim basis by chief operating officer Andy Lord (pictured, right) from 25 October. TfL stated that arrangements to replace Lord in his role as COO would be confirmed “in due course”.
Byford said: “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.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Byford led TfL 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,” he added.
The chair of the London Assembly transport committee, Siân Berry, said: “We can only imagine the difficulties he experienced in guiding TfL through the pandemic and resulting government funding negotiations.”