The head of Transport for London is stepping down so he can take up a new role overseeing the Network Rail, the body responsible for the nation’s rail infrastructure.
Sir Peter Hendy has served as the capital’s transport Commissioner since 2006, having previously served since as TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport for five years.
In his current role he oversaw TfL’s work to ensure the capital’s transport network would cope with the unprecedented demands placed on it by 2012 Olympics. The agency’s success saw him knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List, having been appointed CBE in 2006.
In the build up to the 2008 Mayoral election current Mayor Boris Johnson signalled that he would remove Sir Peter from his post, with aides citing concerns that he was too close to Johnson’s predecessor Ken Livingstone. However the commissioner soon won over the new Mayor who has helped deliver key manifesto commitments including the capital’s successful bike hire scheme and new Routemaster buses.
Largesse with public money, including thousands spent on lavish meals, fine wines and hundreds of taxi journeys, despite a basic salary of £331,362 plus bonuses has sparked a run of media stories.
His appointment as Chair of Network Rail was announced by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin who said: “Sir Peter Hendy is someone of huge experience, who helped keep London moving during the Olympics, he will be a huge asset to Network Rail in overseeing their delivery in coming years.”
Sir Peter said he was “delighted to be asked to chair the Board and help it, the executive team and the whole organisation fulfil Network Rail’s full potential.”
Paying tribute to his departing commissioner, Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Peter Hendy has given 10 years of superb service to London. He has helped oversee the biggest programme of investment in transport since Victorian times – from Crossrail and the Tube upgrades to the cycle superhighways.
“He delivered a near perfect transport plan during the Olympic and Paralympic Games and earned TfL the admiration of passengers from around the world. It is quite right that those skills should be deployed on the national stage.
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Peter on projects like Crossrail 2 and rail devolution that are of colossal importance for London and the UK economy.”
Val Shawcross, Labour’s transport spokesperson on the London Assembly, described Sir Peter as “a tireless public servant” who make “an incredible contribution to London’s transport.”
She added: “There’s no doubt he will leave big shoes to fill.”
The Green party’s Darren Johnson AM said: “Sir Peter Hendy gave us more buses and less traffic during a period of massive population growth. No other world city has achieved that success and it was due to a determined drive to improve and expand our public transport system. He reversed the failed privatisation of the tube, pushed ahead with the upgrades and set up London Rail.
“Despite London’s population growing at the rate of 100,000 a year, we saw a one per cent drop in traffic on our roads during his time as head of the bus network and Transport for London Commissioner. He is definitely the right person to lead Network rail and I wish him well in his new role.”
“The one area of consistent failure during Peter Hendy’s time as Commissioner was his inability to spend the cycling budget and to make dangerous junctions safe. The new Commissioner has to make safer roads a real priority and to show that all of London’s danger hotspots will be taken care of quickly.”
London Underground boss Mike Brown will act as interim Commissioner until a permanent replacement is recruited. With a change of political leadership due next year, Assembly Member Johnson said it “would be best just to let Mike Brown act up in the role til after the election then recruit commissioner after that.”