On Tuesday morning's Brian Lehrer Show (hosted today by Nancy Solomon), Barbarian Days author and New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan dropped by to discuss The Man in Charge of NYC's Subways. We're listening...

The interview comes on the heels of Finnegan's profile on New York City Transit Authority president Andy Byford, and the details contained therein... like the one about how our Mayor had not, until today, met with the guy in charge of NYC Transit.

Nancy Solomon:

So after your piece came out yesterday, the Times is now reporting that Mayor de Blasio is about to meet today with New York’s Transit Chief. So what do you make of this?

William Finnegan: That was sort of a happy response. I mean I was surprised to learn that De Blasio had never met with Byford, who has been in that job for six months and said, "It’s a bit weird not to hear from the Mayor." Most places he’s worked—Toronto, Sydney, London—I mean the Mayor is all over you if you’re running mass transit. Any deficiencies they want taken care of right away. But New York’s political structure is different around mass transit, and so I’ve included that in my piece. And De Blasio’s reaction when it came out was immediately to call Byford and say let’s have a meeting. So maybe that’s going to change. You’re going to get the Mayor behind mass transit, more than he has been.

Solomon: It’s a bit astounding that they hadn’t met.

Finnegan: It’s partly because the MTA, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, is controlled by the Governor. It’s a long story, it’s a long tangled history that’s put the power there. But the Mayor is feeling... the city is paying a great deal into mass transit through fares, taxes, direct subsidies, and sort of has no representation. That is to say, the Mayor has a few seats on the board but doesn’t direct it the way the Governor does.

Solomon: I love the anecdote in your piece about the day that the ticket booth crashed throughout the whole system.

Finnegan: I happened to be with Byford and a couple of his aides and colleagues when they got word on a Friday evening that the Metrocard vending machines had crashed... throughout the system. So it was a bit of an emergency. And the police liaison, Joe Nugent, happened to be there, and he sent a message throughout the system to all cops: “Don’t arrest fare beaters, they can’t pay for their fares.” And there was sort of a scramble to fix it.

And the IT people were kind of sheepish, and the guy they managed to reach said: “Only Miguel can fix this, he knows how to reboot the relevant sub-processor.” And Byford, of course astounded, “Who was Miguel? Where was Miguel?” And everyone started looking for Miguel. It turns out Miguel was driving upstate, out of range, wasn’t answering his cell. And it sort of dragged on... The MTA was really looking bad. And it was all in search of one person, Miguel.

“Those on both teams doing the work are constantly talking,” de Blasio spokesman, Eric Phillips told the Times when asked about the mayor's lack of communication with Byford. “If the suggestion is that the mayor and Mr. Byford splitting a croissant at some point would have a governor-run system fixed, I’m skeptical of that logic.”

You can listen to the full interview with Finnegan here, or below: