The chief executive of Transport for London (TfL) has resigned after just over two years in charge, as the network struggles with striking workers and cuts to its budget that have left it reliant on bailouts. .

Andy Byford, dubbed “Train Daddy” by New Yorkers after transforming the city’s subways, announced his departure after City Hall said it would lend TfL up to £500m to help it Help to increase budgets and avoid service cuts.

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British-born Mr Byford, who started working underground as a graduate trainee in the Eighties, will return to the US where he lived before taking the TfL job.

Fresh from running New York’s subways, Mr Byford returned to the UK in June 2020 to run TfL at the height of the Covid crisis, when the transport network was facing an existential crisis.

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The transport body has been reliant on taxpayers’ cash since the pandemic, with TfL receiving almost £6bn in government funds as passenger numbers struggled to recover.

Late last month, the Department for Transport announced a long-term funding deal that will secure operations until March 2024.

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who heads TfL, said the network had “no choice but to accept. [it] So that the deal can be done to avoid TfL going bankrupt.

Mr Byford has faced repeated strikes by Tube staff this year in a dispute over job cuts. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) last month said more strikes were likely as a result of the DfT bailout deal, which it claimed would “att*ck” workers’ pay and conditions.

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During his tenure, Mr Byford oversaw the opening of London’s Elizabeth Line, the extension of the Northern and London Overground lines, the upgrade of Bank Station and the automation of the Circle Line.

Mr Byford said the launch of the Elizabeth Line was a highlight of his 33-year career, which was “really poignant because it was one of the last major events for Her Majesty the Queen”.

“Now is the right time to bow down and start life again in America with my wife,” he said.

TfL said he will leave the organization at the end of next month, when current chief operating officer Andy Lord will act as interim commissioner.

Mr Byford was so popular in New York that in January 2020 a campaign was launched on Twitter with the hashtag #BringAndyBack to persuade him not to take the TfL job.

It was here that he was given the nickname “Train Daddy”, a name that according to the New York Times came from a piece of street art that read “Train Daddy loves you so much”.

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