Niagara Gazette —
The organizations have met with NFTA officials and elected officials in recent months to discuss the route cuts. The groups have expressed particular concern with the pending elimination of route 201 in Lockport, the only bus route in the city.
Route 201 was set to be shut down in May, but it has continued to operate in response to public outcry and requests from local officials.
“We cannot continue to stand idly by while threats are made by the NFTA to reduce and cut off services that enable thousands of residents to get to the doctors, grocery stores and family visits. This is just not about the livelihood of transit riders in Lockport, this is about the livelihood of transit riders throughout Western New York,” Karen Carroll, a member of Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope and the Lockport 201 Coalition, said in the press release.
Doug Hartmayer, a spokesman for the NFTA, said that the county legislature and the authority have not resolved the gap in funding.
Route 201, which runs by public housing in the city and is depended upon by the riders who use it regularly, has a historically low ridership with an average of 43 passengers each weekday. It costs the NFTA approximately $1,200 a day to keep the route running.
"There is a funding discrepancy between the services provided and the funding received," Hartmayer said.
The organizations held a demonstration in the lobby of the NFTA offices last month seeking a meeting with the authority's executive director Kimberly Minkel to discuss possible service cuts throughout the region.
Hartmayer says that the authority has kept dialogue with the groups' leadership open in recent months.
"We've met with them at least six different times," Hartmayer said. "We had a representative at their meeting last week."