NY Transit Head Richard Davey Chugging North to Takeover Boston System

Davey becomes the latest executive to serve just two years before jumping ship as the head of the sprawling NYC bus and subway system. Subway chief Demetrius Chrichlow succeeds him as interim CEO. Cracking down on fare evasion, now running at nearly $700 million a year, will be a big challenge going forward.

| 30 May 2024 | 03:12

It’s two-and-done for Richard Davey as the president of NYC Transit, the largest subway and bus system in North America. Davey, a native Bostonian, announced on May 29 he is returning to his home state to head the Massachusetts Port Authority, which includes Logan Airport.

MTA CEO Janno Lieber in an adieu said, “I’m thrilled for Rich. He’s a Bostonian. He’s going home.”

Lieber immediately appointed Demetrius Crichlow, senior VP of the NYC subway system since 2021, as the interim President of NYC Transit, effective June 14. “I have confidence that he will be able to build on the successes he’s helped to achieve,” said Lieber, who said subway ridership is up 67 percent from its pandemic low.

The announcement ended weeks of speculation that Davey was about to jump ship.

Davey when he took the NYC Transit job in May, 2022, said he hoped to last longer than two years, which was the average tenure of his recent predecessors and barely made it before jumping to the better paying job in Boston. Over the past 11 years, six different men or women have held the job and lasted an average of two years. In the end, he became the latest two-and-done Club member. He started the NYCT job on May 2, 2022.

He gets a hefty pay hike s the Massport Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, which is a five year term. The new job offers $420,000 a year overseeing Logan Airport and two smaller airports, container port cruise facilities and some real estate. He’s slated to start his new job by September.

The first reporting of Davey’s exit from NYC Transit was filed by Gothamist on May 14; on May 16, Davey issued a statement pledging to continue to work for better service for bus and subway riders for as long as he was President of NYC Transit. He was selected for the MassPort gig on May 29 In a 5-to-2 vote by the Massport board.

The 120-year-old NYC Transit system is the largest mass transit system in North America with 47,000 employees, over 6 million daily customers and a $10 billion operating budget. His term started on May 2, 2022.

Davey’s previous employment in the Boston area included General Manager, for the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad from 2003 to 2010 and General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority from 2010 to 2011, a job now held by former LIRR ahead Phil Eng. From 2011 to 2014, Davey served as secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. He had also held jobs in government and private sectors.

Crichlow is a lifelong New Yorker.

In the May 29 announcement, Lieber said: “Here’s the punchline: Demetrius Critchlow, the guy who has been running the subway system for the past three-plus years, is taking over as Interim Transit President. Demetrius, 27 year veteran of the MTA, a third generation MTA transit professional. He’s the guy who has put us on the map for having the highest ridership of any transit system.”

He started his MTA career in 1997 as an assistant signal maintainer for the Long Island Rail Road, rising through the ranks at the LIRR to become Train Movement Supervisor overseeing operations at Penn Station Central Control. In 2007 he transferred to MTA Headquarters to become Special Assistant for Operations for the Executive Director. While Crichlow started his career at the LIRR, his father—who retired as a car inspector for Subways—had always hoped he would continue the family tradition of working at NYCT.

A big challenge in the coming years will be cracking down on fare evasion on subways and buses, which in the latest tally covering 2022 was estimated to be costing the MTA close to $700 million in lost fares.