LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than 800 Lackawanna residents have signed a petition. They say they can’t make it to their jobs, grocery stores, and schools due to a lack of public transportation.
“During the weekday after 5 o’clock if I wanted to go to Tops or Kmart I would have to walk to Abbott road to catch a bus to get me there,” said John Ingram, Glover Garden Tenant Council President.
Residents of Lackawanna say they often have to walk more than 2 miles before they can catch a bus to a place like Tops. They say they have no choice because there’s no means of public transportation to get there.
“To go to a Walmart in Hamburg we can’t go there. We would have to catch a bus downtown, and then catch another bus and then go to that Walmart. It’s unrealistic,” said Ingram.
Residents say people in the 1st ward have no access on evenings and weekends, and it’s an inconvenience to many who depend on it to get around.
“Or you get a cab then you got to pay a cab to take you there and then you get a cab to go back home. Now that’s not fair,” said Rita Lee of Lackawanna.
Several residents say it’s hard for them to make it places like work and to their children’s school, because they have no way to get from point a to point b.
“The buses were there at one time and now they’re not and that’s creating a barrier and I’ll say downright it’s an atrocity for the NFTA not to provide the transportation that we’re paying for as citizens,” said Mark Blue, Second Baptist Church Pastor.
According to the NFTA, ridership in the areas of concern in Lackawanna is low.
“The level of service that we are able to offer with the limited resources that we have is predicated on the number of potential riders that we service, history will dictate where the service is,” said C. Douglas Hartmayer, NFTA Director of Public Affairs.
The NFTA will be holding a public meeting in Lackwanna in January with community leaders, elected officials, and business owners to gauge their concerns and figure out how to address those concerns moving forward.
Hartmayer also says he heard of concerns about bus shelters being in deplorable condition along route 5, he says the NFTA does not own those bus shelters, they are owned by the city of Lackawanna.