Plaudits have poured in from across the political divide for Sir Peter Hendy following the news he is leaving Transport for London (TfL) after being appointed the new chairman of Network Rail.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE has held the top job of commissioner at TfL since 2006, having previously served since 2001 as TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport.
As well as masterminding the transport plan for the London Olympics, during his time at the helm he oversaw rapid expansion of the physical network, large-scale engineering works and smart ticketing projects such as contactless payments.
Transport for London are now widely regarded as one of the foremost transport authorities in the world, with many other nation's seeking its advice.
Sir Peter will earn about £500,000 for his four-day working week at Network Rail. The 62-year old started his career learning to drive buses after joining London Transport more than 40 years ago.
Mayor of London 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.’
Labour’s London Assembly transport spokesperson Val Shawcross AM said: ‘Sir Peter Hendy is a tireless public servant and has made an incredible contribution to London’s transport during his time at TfL. London’s global city status relies on its enviable transport network and Sir Peter Hendy has played a central role in getting it to the place it’s in now. There’s no doubt he will leave big shoes to fill.
‘With London’s transport system operating at full capacity and challenging projects such as the Night Tube in the pipeline, TfL faces difficult times ahead. We cannot afford a vacuum of leadership at the heart of London’s transport.’
Green Party AM, Darren Johnson, 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 1% 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.’
Although Mr Johnson did make a parting swipe, stating ‘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’.