Subway Chief May Quit Over Tensions With Cuomo, Colleagues Fear

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Andy Byford, the transit government who was employed to rescue New York City’s floundering subway, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have more and more clashed over administration of the system, and a number of other of Mr. Byford’s colleagues mentioned they feared he would possibly give up.

The two males didn’t communicate between January and April, whilst Mr. Byford was searching for to maneuver ahead on a sweeping $40 billion plan to overtake the subway within the subsequent decade.

If Mr. Byford, who was employed in November 2017, had been to step down, it could be a serious blow to efforts to enhance the system, which has been tormented by antiquated tools, value overruns and rising complaints from riders about persistent mismanagement. In latest years, New York’s subways have had one of many worst on-time charges of any main fast transit system on this planet.

Mr. Byford and Mr. Cuomo have disagreed over the plan to repair the L prepare, new know-how to improve subway alerts, the excessive value of Mr. Byford’s “Fast Forward” overhaul plan and Mr. Cuomo’s common criticism of the authority.

Mr. Byford’s colleagues mentioned he was troubled that he didn’t have the help that he believes he wants from Mr. Cuomo to hold out formidable plans for the system.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, in flip has felt that Mr. Byford has been reluctant to embrace new know-how and wanted to know the governor’s position because the elected official most liable for the efficiency of the subways.

Contacted this week, Mr. Byford and a spokeswoman for the governor sought to downplay tensions, and mentioned Mr. Byford had no plans to resign. But the spokeswoman, Dani Lever, mentioned, the “leadership team must deliver real results in real time,” referring to Mr. Byford.

Several individuals who have spoken with Mr. Byford, together with colleagues on the transit company, mentioned they had been deeply nervous he would go away.

Richard Ravitch, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority who’s credited with turning across the system within the 1980s, mentioned he had dinner with Mr. Byford in February and was struck by how sad he was.

“I’m afraid he’s going to quit,” Mr. Ravitch mentioned of Mr. Byford.

Andrew Albert, a longtime M.T.A. board member, mentioned he tried to guarantee Mr. Byford that he had the help of subway riders, who’re rooting for him to succeed.

“I’m very concerned — I don’t think that he would be fired,” Mr. Albert mentioned. “I’m worried that he would quit.”

Mr. Byford seemed to be pissed off with “interference in his daily duties” from Mr. Cuomo and his aides, Mr. Albert mentioned.

“He wants to be able to get on and do the job he was hired to do,” Mr. Albert mentioned.

Asked in an interview whether or not he was pissed off, Mr. Byford mentioned “any job has its frustrations.”

“I know what needs to be done here,” he mentioned. “I need to be allowed to get on with what needs to be done, and I’m very happy to be held accountable for that.”

Asked when he had final spoken with Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Byford mentioned: “Sometime in January.”

Mr. Byford later mentioned by electronic mail that he had not “seriously considered quitting.”

Some of Mr. Byford’s colleagues said his rock star status — with profiles in The New Yorker and on 60 Minutes — may have irked Mr. Cuomo. They compared the dynamic to Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and his police commissioner, William J. Bratton — men who fought for the limelight. Mr. Bratton resigned in 1996 shortly after being on the cover of Time magazine.

The subway has improved under Mr. Byford, though some riders say it is still unreliable. The on-time rate has increased to 78 percent from 65 percent — the highest rate in years. Mr. Byford said he wanted to keep pushing the rate higher past 80 or 90 percent.

But Ms. Lever said the $40 billion price tag for Mr. Byford’s overhaul plan was “an incredible sum to come by.” She also said Mr. Cuomo expected more progress from the transit authority after he secured new funding through congestion pricing.

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