Transit riders outraged over changes to bus routes

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some transit riders are outraged after the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority (NFTA) made changes to three bus routes, without gathering public input.

“It’s a shame that NFTA doesn’t think that poor people need to go to Darien Lake and don’t need to go to Ralph Wilson Stadium, they don’t need to go to the beach,” said Dennice Barr, transit rider.

Starting June 18, the NFTA will be changing the 1, 2 and 4 bus routes.
“We want to make sure that we have safe connections and transfers from 1, 2 and 4 to routes 5, 11, 25 under a covered area. So we’re bringing those routes into downtown Buffalo to our transit center to make those safe connections,” said James Morell, Deputy Director of Public Transit NFTA.

Currently, more than 1,500 people ride routes 1, 2 and 4. With the new changes, dozens of those riders will be impacted including the poor, the disabled, seniors and working families.

Transit riders told News 4 the changes to the routes will limit their opportunities.

“Why should we be disconnected from other neighborhoods? I keep coming back to that, why is it they think just because people live in poor neighborhoods that they shouldn’t have to go anywhere,” said Barr.
“We have to have access to affordable, reliable transportation or we can’t get access to jobs or other opportunities,” said Andrew Marcum, transit rider.

The NFTA says instead, riders will have access to bus route 5 every 10 minutes which gives riders more chances to catch other routes.

“No service impact other than individuals will probably have a 280 foot walk from the existing line to Niagara Street,” said Morell.

The Buffalo Transit Riders United group says they’re disappointed the NFTA didn’t gather public input before making these changes. They feel the NFTA targeted the most vulnerable transit riders.

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