Buffalo Transit Riders pushing for more say in NFTA decisions

Mar 22, 2018

A group known as Buffalo Transit Riders United is pushing the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to give riders more of a voice in policy decision making.

Credit Buffalo Transit Riders

Representatives of the group complain the Board of Commissioners does not allow them to offer comment at meetings, and the one public transport rider on that panel does not get a say in decisions. BTRU member Andrew Marcum says the NFTA is not meeting the needs of bus and metro rail riders.

"We have a system where 60 percent of our regional jobs are not available by public transportation and this is a system we depend on as riders," Marcum says, "and if we want the problems we have as riders to be addressed in an accountable and transparent way, we need riders to be a part of the process and have a voice and vote in the process."

NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel says that is not a fair statement, telling WBFO that several years ago, the NFTA formed a citizens' advisory committee, and riders have had a chance to provide their input.

"We have many transit rider representatives," says Minkel. "For example, Citizens for Regional Transit has been around much longer and represents a large number of transit riders. Another group, Jericho Road, also represents many of our transit riders and then we have the Disabled Advisory Committee."

The BTRU is planning its own meeting on April 7 at St. Paul's Cathedral on Pearl Street. Marcum says they are inviting NFTA commissioners to attend and participate.