Op-ed | Meet Demetrius Crichlow, the interim MTA New York City Transit boss

MTA interim New York City Transit President Demetrius Crichlow
MTA interim New York City Transit President Demetrius Crichlow
Marc A. Hermann / MTA

As a third-generation transit worker – following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather — it’s an honor to serve as interim president of New York City Transit. This isn’t just a job for me, it’s personal. New York City Transit is in the fiber of who I am.

I started my career at the MTA 27 years ago as an assistant signal maintainer at the Long Island Rail Road. I was promoted through the ranks up to Train Movement Supervisor, overseeing operations at Penn Station Central Control. Then in 2007, I transferred to MTA Headquarters to become Special Assistant for Operations for then-Chair and CEO Lee Sander before taking leadership positions at Staten Island Railway and eventually running the entire NYC subway system. 

I’ve seen behind the curtain all over the MTA, and there is no greater priority for me than the safety of our operations – for riders and for Transit’s 47,000 employees, who deserve to work in a safe, comfortable environment with the right training and modern equipment to do their jobs. Just because the transit system is nearly 120 years old doesn’t mean every component has to be. 

I plan to build on the progress we’ve made enhancing facilities and upgrading technology, so we can focus on our mission of providing world-class transportation for millions of New Yorkers every day.

On my first day in this new role last month, we announced expansion of the Automated Camera Enforcement Program (ACE). That’s the program to ticket drivers who illegally park in bus stops and bus lanes, enabling bus operators and passengers to move faster and safer. 

Last month, we also began the first phase of the G line shutdown, so crews can install modern signals and do station improvements. Shuttle buses are running along its route in the meantime. While nobody likes service disruptions, there’s going to be a major pay-off for riders once the project is completed. 

Just look at the 7 and L lines – they already have new signals, which is why they have the best on-time performance in the entire system. I have full confidence that the G project team, led by Hugo Zamora, will get the job done. 

There are so many talented people working at Transit. I’ve been getting to know executive leadership from all departments – Buses, Subways, Paratransit, Operations Planning, Security, and System Safety – over the last few weeks, and I look forward to meeting many more employees, wherever they’re working. I also hope to hear from you, our riders, in person and online as we continue to improve service and increase customer satisfaction and ridership. 

Demetrius Crichlow is interim MTA New York City Transit president.