Bob Kiley, who was credited with saving the New York City and Boston subway systems, will step down as commissioner of transport for London on Jan. 31, three years before his contract was due to expire, Mayor Ken Livingstone said today. The mayor's statement, which highly praised Kiley's work, did not say why was leaving the job, and a spokesman at Livingstone's office declined to answer that question.
But the mayor probably wants a new commissioner who can see the city through its 2012 Olympic Games, which will require improvements in the capital's transportation systems, especially in eastern London where most of the Olympic sites will be. Livingstone said Kiley would serve as a consultant advising the mayor for the remainder of his term in office.
Livingstone and Kiley both reduced heavy vehicular traffic in central London by introducing an 8 pound (US$13.96, Ђ11.69) daily congestion charge, required of most vehicles entering high-traffic areas of London during working hours. The mayor said changes that Kiley oversaw "will be felt by Londoners for many years to come."
Kiley, who has been praised for saving New York's subway system in the 1980s and Boston's in the 1970s, became London's commissioner of transport in early 2001 at a time when London's ailing and old Underground network, which handles about 1 billion passengers a year, was widely criticized for breakdowns, the AP reports.
Livingstone and Kiley both strongly opposed a solution devised by the central government to separate the subway system into four separate parts, three of which would be run by private consortia.