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Statement from Legislator April Baskin Regarding Buffalo Transit Riders Union Request to Restore NFTA Services

“I was born and raised in Buffalo; there were many times when my family didn’t own a vehicle as a child, and later as an adult, I can remember being without a car of my own. Transportation is a human right. Having an effective, reliant, and sustainable transit system is something that all residents of Buffalo and Erie County need and deserve. After taking the oath of office in the County Legislature in 2018, I worked with my Democratic Caucus members to introduce a resolution that allowed Buffalo Public School students to use their NFTA passes in an unrestricted manner. Along with our partner in government, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy, we supported the appointment of a “captive rider” and a transit dependent individual as two voting members of the NFTA Board of Directors. Their perspective is necessary and badly warranted. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I reached out to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and Kim Minkel, Executive Director of the NFTA, after I heard concerns from my constituent riders. Together, we re-examined the public health policies for riders on NFTA busses that lead to increased safety measures and more widely available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). And this year in 2021, I gladly voted in favor of a resolution sponsored by my Legislature partner Howard Johnson asking for additional bus services to the Alden Correctional Facility so that families of those incarcerated could have access to their loved ones. Weeks later, I sponsored an additional resolution which passed unanimously, calling for the NFTA to revise their public notice policy when cutting bus routes. 

The NFTA has made strides in my past requests on behalf of my constituency, and I believe more can be done; we cannot just restore the services that were cut during the pandemic. Para-transit and transit dependent members of our community are in need of quality, reliable transportation. As the Chair of the Legislature, I will continue to push for added services from the NFTA who receives public dollars for their services. I strongly support The Freedom to Move Act along with other initiatives that make our community and environment safer for riders and all who live here.”

02/23/2022 - 1:36 pm