A petition is calling on the governor of New Jersey to clean house at New Jersey Transit and is strongly implying that the perfect candidate to take over the embattled agency recently joined the job market: Andy Byford, the former president of New York City Transit.
The Change.org petition is called "NJTRANSIT: We Need Change, Now!" was posted on Wednesday and has more than 270 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
"We the 900,000+ daily commuters of NJTRANSIT and residents of NJ respectfully request the state government and board of NJTRANSIT to find new leadership for this agency. They should have experience turning around a mass transit system," the petition, addressed to the office of Gov. Phil Murphy and the state legislature, states. "The current state of NJTRANSIT is unacceptable for the daily riders who are routinely left stranded day after day. We need to hire a transit veteran who has the knowledge and will to turn NJTRANSIT around."
The petition then mentions Byford as "a seasoned veteran of large transit systems" who "helped to improve mass transit in London and Toronto" before coming to the MTA and helping "reshape" New York's subway system.
"He is a proven leader with support from those around him, his riders, and the lowest level staff in his organizations," the petition states. "This man can build a winning team. This is the kind of leader NJTRANSIT needs at the helm going forward."
Byford has not publicly stated his next career move but has said he intends to stay in New York.
On the same day the petition was started, a longtime transit riders group called on NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett and NJ Transit board chairwoman and Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti to resign.
NJ.com reported that the governor has "full confidence" in Corbett, who has been on the job for about two years.
NJ Transit, the nation's third-largest transit system, has been plagued by service delays and cancelations, infrastructure problems, a shortage of engineers, accidents, the lack of federally mandated positive-train control technology, and more.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, announced a plan last week that would set aside $500 million a year for NJ Transit's operating budget. He said he will seek a constitutional amendment to prevent that pool of money from being raided for other purposes.
With The Associated Press