Beloved New York City Transit President Andy Byford, whose last day was Friday, will be replaced, for now, by MTA board member Sarah Feinberg, who chairs the MTA Transit Committee.

Feinberg, a former head of the Federal Railway Administration during the Obama administration, has built a reputation for her focus on quality of life concerns in the system, such as fare evasion and homelessness. She was appointed to the board by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and is widely seen as an ally to the Governor's Office.

A leading proponent of Cuomo's calls to add 500 MTA police police officers, Feinberg consistently claimed that the hiring spree would not amount to a fare beating crackdown, despite the agency's own internal statements indicating otherwise. She frequently sparred with opponents of the plan, saying anyone doubting the need to spend $249 million on new subway cops needed a "reality check."

Feinberg has also suggested that repeat criminals should be banned from the transit system, and floated the idea of publicly shaming fare evaders. “I would like to see us capture this behavior on camera and then posting it publicly...on our YouTube channel," she said at an MTA board meeting last year.

“It’s clear from her public statements that she’s in lock stop with the governor and police being one of the issues,” said Rachael Fauss, a senior research analyst at the good government group Reinvent Albany.

It’s not clear how long she’ll serve as “interim” president. Bridge and Tunnels has had an interim president for over a year, and Buses for the past six months.

“It’s going to be critically important to continue the progress over the past two years, and that may be more challenging with the new transformation plan underway,” Fauss said.

Speaking at the Fulton Street station announcing the position, flanked by MTA Chairman Pat Foye, and recently appointed Chief Operating Officer Mario Péloquin, Feinberg made her pitch to the public for how she'll operate. "To our millions of riders, I hear you, I see you, I'm one of you. And I want you to know every single day you can count on me to advocate for you. And to be honest and transparent with you, about the challenges we face and what it will take to address them."

Adding that she'll seek to continue Byford's Save Safe Seconds work, and, "improving the safety and security of the system is also crucial to our success. These gains in performance are all for naught if riders and employees don't feels safe. The added police officers the MTA is adding will be deployed strategically throughout the system and will be focused on deterrence, protection, and assistance. And our number one goal is all New Yorkers feel a sense of safety and security when they ride with us."

Feinberg will be responsible for the 48,000 workers that make up subways and buses.

Tramell Thompson, an MTA conductor and founder of Progressive Action, a popular Facebook group among union activists, congratulated Feinberg but proceeded to question her judgment.

"I don’t know how much she knows our jobs or how dangerous our jobs are when she exhibited unsafe behavior by putting on a MTA vest with her child strapped to her casually doing work on the L line platform," Thompson said. "In my opinion she minimized the true conditions thousands of women workers face who cannot bring their child to work for obvious reasons and lost promotions because of the MTA refusal to provide light duty work for expecting moms. Also, her resume contains absolutely no experience in any capacity working in a transit worker title ever, unlike her predecessor."

Thompson said he hoped the MTA would would find leaders with hands-on experience. "It's almost like the MTA would hire a hockey coach to coach a basketball team all because the hockey coach plays a sport. Until they start to hire from within, or from people who have actual experience working some of these rank & file positions, with a great moral compass, this company will continue to have issues on a executive level."

But the Riders Alliance, which campaigns for mass transit improvements, is optimistic about the hire. “Sarah Feinberg's long experience in government and transit are a boon for riders,” Riders Alliance spokesperson Danny Pearlstine said in a statement. “New Yorkers should look to her to continue the progress of the past two years by cutting delays, speeding up trains, and delivering transformative new bus networks in each borough.”

“We’re thrilled to have Chair Feinberg lead New York City Transit at this important time in the MTA’s history,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said in a statement. “I am confident she will carry forward the progress we have achieved to bring performance to record levels, modernize our system for customers and build on the success of the Subway Action Plan.”

Outgoing president Byford cited his reduced role under the MTA’s transformation, in which subway construction projects will fall under the purview of the MTA’s construction company, as a reason for his resignation.