Hitachi's UK plant looks to the world market
Sliding seats could enable passenger trains to carry goods
A1 No 60163 Tornado does 100mph
Rail Alliance drives Midlands Engine
GB Railfreight to implement Ideagen safety software
UAV survey company Bridgeway Aerial takes off
Fire at Euston Station causes nationwide rail disruption
DB Cargo UK confirms job cuts and reform
Subsea cable fault detection demonstrated to rail industry
HS2 rolling stock procurement moves forward
Late last year, Cuomo brought in AlixPartners, a management consulting firm and self-described turnaround specialist that was paid $4 million to produce a 37-page report. That report and its organizational flow chart (must have been some really expensive software that spit it out) is the basis for the “MTA Transformation Plan,” an RFP for which is now circulating.
The Transformation Plan, the brainchild of a politician who has no experience running a transportation system, would have relegated Andy to running day-to-day operations at NYCT. That was not why he came to New York City.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit
Here’s what The New York Times observed:
“After being lured to New York two years ago to help revive the city’s subway, Andy Byford earned praise from riders and mass transit advocates for bringing about improvements on an antiquated system that had been undermined by breakdowns, delays and mismanagement. But as Mr. Byford rose in stature, even earning the nickname ‘Train Daddy’ among rail enthusiasts, he increasingly clashed with the one official who has the final say over the subways: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who considers himself something of a modern-day master builder. On [Jan. 23], Mr. Byford resigned, sowing doubt about the future of extensive plans that are intended to modernize the nation’s largest subway system.”
Despite what he thinks of himself, Cuomo is no Robert Moses.
In his resignation letter, Andy said that a “focus solely on day-to-day-running of service” could be carried out by others who could “perform this important, but reduced, service delivery role.”
In other words (and these are my words): “I’m not going to compromise my values. You, Guv’nor, go do your own thing. I’ll do mine. I’m not going to be part of it.”
Andy would never say these things himself, at least in public. He’s far too much of a gentlemen and professional.
More from The New York Times: “Interviews with transit officials and lawmakers and others indicate that Mr. Byford’s departure capped months of escalating tension between the two men: a hard-charging governor from Queens who frequently mocks the transit bureaucracy, vs. a self-described subway nerd from Britain who has spent his career reviving and running transit systems around the world. His colleagues at the MTA believed Mr. Byford’s high profile may have irked Mr. Cuomo. The governor’s aides said that Mr. Byford often tried to take credit for improvements that were unrelated to his own work.”
Of course, Cuomo’s minions are going to fabricate BS like that, if they want to keep their jobs. As far as Andy’s high profile and popularity angering Cuomo, that’s true. But know this: Andy did not ask for the spotlight. He is a humble man who is determined to do what’s right. If you question my characterization, take a look at this CBS 60 Minutes story from Oct. 21, 2018.
Here are some excerpts from a July 2, 2018 profile of Andy in The New Yorker. Author William Finnegan accompanied him as he visited several NYCT locations:
Between [talking to] customers, Byford straightened a pile of free newspapers. He had already introduced himself to the station agent, several platform cleaners, and the conductors on a couple of downtown trains. Each employee stared at the metal name tag pinned to his navy-blue suit. Yep, it was the president, the new guy. “Everything O.K.?” he asked. The employees seemed disarmed by his enthusiasm and his English accent. He shook hands and told people, “We’re one team.”
Byford was new to the city—new to
the country—and was still perturbed by things that most locals accepted as
inevitable. “That brown tiling,” he said, pointing at a rust-streaked wall. He
took a photograph with his phone. Down on the platform, Byford regarded the
track bed. It looked, as nature intended, like hell: filthy water, strewn
garbage. “My customers shouldn’t have to look at that,” he said. “We’ve ordered
three vacuum cars. They’ll suck up all of this.”
Byford, who is 52, got his start
in mass transit as a station foreman on the London Underground. The work ran in
his family. His grandfather drove a bus for London Transport for 40 years; his
father worked there for 12. Byford earned degrees in German and French, but
after college he went to work for the Underground, learning car maintenance,
operations, customer service, safety. He later worked on Britain’s main-line
railways, and then ran mass transit in Sydney, Australia. His last stop before
New York was Toronto, where, by nearly all accounts, he turned around a
troubled transit system with spectacular results.
Announcing his departure in late 2018 from the Toronto Transit Commission for the New York MTA, Andy Byford said, “I will look back on my time at the TTC as the absolute highlight of my 28-year transit career to date.” I think he can still say that!
In our rambles together by subway and bus through the arteries and capillaries of what he calls, with a straight face, New York City’s “quite fabulous system,” I never saw him sit down. “The seats are for customers,” he says. More often than not, he’d start conducting customer-satisfaction surveys with randomly selected travelers, listening to their tales of riderly woe.
the platform at Chambers Street, he studied a small group of workers, all in
high-visibility orange vests, idling in a dim corner. “I wonder what they’re
doing, or supposed to be doing,” he said. He decided against inquiring. “I’ve
learned that it’s sometimes best not to just go steaming in.” But, when it
comes to fixing the subways and buses, his approach will very much be to go
steaming in. He wants to transform New York City’s mass transit—and had already
committed himself to delivering a comprehensive plan within a hundred working
days. “I don’t think they hired me to tweak things here and there,” he said.
“This company needs a complete modernization.”
Now that’s a rail transit professional, one who loves his work. Cuomo, on the other hand, doesn’t have enough smarts to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) when he’s traipsing around New York City’s subway and Amtrak tunnels, news cameras in tow.
Why aren’t you wearing PPE, Governor Cuomo?
I’m sure that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s praise of Andy didn’t help. It’s well known that de Blasio and Cuomo can’t stand each other.
Governor Cuomo, you blew it, big time. You’ve played with your life-size electric train set, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, far too long. You’ve rearranged the toys in your sandbox far too many times. Now, you’ve caused a huge derailment. You’ve dumped sand on the one person who knows better than anyone else how to build a better, bigger place where everyone can play, on a level field. Why? Because you thought he was dimming the spotlight in which you so love to bask. That person—Andy Byford—said “enough.” Who will suffer? About five million people a day. And you don’t give a damn, because you consider expendable the people in your perceived fiefdom who refuse to be squashed by your thumb.
New York City’s loss is going to be some other transit agency’s gain. And if and when things start to fall apart at the rail joints (and I hope they don’t), there will be one person to blame.
“A frog? I don’t see any frogs. I thought there were only rats down here … ”
Professionals need to run railways. Not politicians.
The post You Blew It, Andrew Cuomo appeared first on Railway Age.
This article first appeared on www.railwayage.com
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2020 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.