OP-ED: NYC Transit Presidents come and go every few years

May 31, 2024
NYC Transit Presidents such as Richard Davey, his past predecessor Andy Byford and others going back decades come and go after a few years.

New York City (NYC) Transit presidents such as Richard Davey, his past predecessor Andy Byford and others going back decades come and go after a few years. NYC Transit has a fleet of 6,418 subway cars, 472 stations, 28 rail yards, 4,500 buses and 29 bus depots. Since 2002, there have been six NYC Transit Presidents. They depart to become the CEO of another transit agency, engineering firm, rail car manufacturer, construction company or equipment manufacturer.   

They leave the nations largest subway and bus operator with a generous separation package, including a six-figure severance payout, plus financial compensation for unused sick and vacation time. 

Promoting from within the current NYC Transit senior organization management team to fill any vacancy makes sense. Rather than wasting time and money in a national search for a new permanent NYC Transit president, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Janno Lieber should promote from within. There are several capable senior vice presidents to choose from, including NYC Transit senior vice presidents for subways, buses, chief engineer, chief financial officer, executive vice president and several others.  

Those individuals already have a good understanding of the NYC Transit's organization, staff, operations, stations, subway yard and shops, bus depots, other capital assets, facilities and customers needs. Any would be able to hit the job running with little need for on the job training.  

The next NYC Transit president will need to develop a relationship with funding partners such as City Hall, Albany and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region 2 New York office, along with riders and union employees.  The MTA usually allocates up to 80 percent of the $1.8 billion in annual grant funding it receives from FTA to fund NYC Transit capital projects and programs. It is critical to make it a priority to meet with the FTA New York Region 2 Office Administrator and staff.  

It is a simple walk across the street from NYC Transit headquarters at 2 Broadway to visit the FTA Region 2 office located on the fourth floor of the United States Customs House at 2 Bowling Green in downtown Manhattan.       

About the Author

Larry Penner

Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for New Jersey Transit, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYC Transit bus, subway and Staten Island Railway, Long Island and Metro North railroads, MTA Bus, NYCDOT Staten Island Ferry along with 30 other transit agencies in New York and New Jersey.