Byford, who will join the New York City Transit Authority as their new CEO, broke the news at a press conference at TTC headquarters Tuesday morning.
“I will look back at my time at the TTC as the absolute highlight of my 28 year transit career to date,” Byford said.
Earlier this year, Byford was approached by Queensland Rail in Australia for a position at the railway operator but declined the offer.
Byford has been credited with modernizing the TTC and bringing a more customer-focused approach to Toronto’s public transit system.
“I saw enough in my first three months as chief operating officer to convince me that job one for the TTC was to get exponentially better of delivery of what I call the basics. A relentless push to drive up standards of safety, cleanliness, punctuality and reliability across all five modes that we operate.”
In 2017, the TTC was awarded the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) award for Outstanding Transit System of the Year.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement that Byford has left the TTC in a much better shape than when he became CEO five years ago.
“Mr. Byford has been no less than superb when it comes to taking the tens of millions of additional dollars City Council has given the TTC under my leadership and that of TTC Chair Josh Colle, and investing this new money quickly and wisely in restoring services previously cut and adding new service,” Tory said.
“I am confident that Mr. Byford leaves behind a solid management team that will continue his legacy here in Toronto of customer-focused transit.”
VIDEO: Andy Byford vows subway extension will open on December 17
Byford said his biggest disappointment has been dealing with Bombardier and the continual delays in the streetcar order.
“We don’t build the streetcars. At the end of the day, I think we’ve done just about everything, short of doing that,” Byford said.
“So the fact that we only have 50 new streetcars now when really, we should have about 150 of them, is both a disappointment and a frustration. Until the day I leave, every week now I’m having a weekly conference call with Bombardier to go through unit by unit, where is it, when are we getting it?”
VIDEO: Andy Byford describes ‘frustration’ in working with Bombardier
Bombardier said in October it will miss its end-of-year target of delivering 70 streetcars by five.
The company cited “issues with the supply chain” and has informed the TTC that it will be delivering 65 vehicles by the end of 2017.
Byford also said the “softened” of ridership numbers in recent years is also a concern going forward.
“Since 2011, it has gone up by 40 million but clearly that’s something that needs to be addressed. We’re certainly not relaxed about that,” Byford said.
Byford assumed the helm of the TTC in 2012 following his stint as head of the Rail Corporation New South Wales (RailCorp) in Australia.
Prior to that, Byford was the general manager for the London Underground.
Byford will leave his position with the TTC in mid-December following the official opening of the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension and begin his new position in NYC in mid-January.
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