Transport for London (TfL) chief Andy Byford has announced he is stepping down as commissioner.
Just weeks ago Mr Byford secured the service a £1.2 billion long-term funding package from the Department for Transport, after months of tough negotiations.
Mr Byford, who has held the role since 2020 and was previously the boss of New York’s public transport system, said on Thursday that it had been a "huge privilege" to hold the role.
"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," he said.
He added: "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.”
The transport chief is set to move to the United States with his wife, ending a 33-year public service career.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “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.
TfL expects to receive the government funding until the end of March 2024, should passenger numbers not recover at the budgeted rate.
However, Mr Khan warned a “significant funding gap” remained, and on Wednesday announced £500 million would be made available to help TfL make up for any shortfall between now and when the government funding deal expires.
Nick Rogers, GLA Conservatives transport spokesperson, said news of Mr Byford’s resignation puts Mr Khan’s mayoralty “in chaos”.
He said: “Last month, evidence of his poor conduct towards the former Met Police commissioner came to light. Now he has lost his TfL commissioner, who was forced to spend two years navigating the mayor’s needless political games over the TfL deal.
“Andy Byford deserves our gratitude for his hard work managing TfL; his departure is the city’s loss. London, however, deserves a new mayor.”
On top of the pandemic, the 57-year-old steered the organisation through a number of substantial challenges including massive industrial action, delivery of the £19 billion Elizabeth line, and an influx into the capital of thousands of passengers for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and to pay their respects after her death.
TfL’s chief operating officer Andy Lord will take on the role of commissioner on an interim basis.
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