Buffalo man says he was left out in the cold by a paratransit bus

Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 19, 2017

Assemblyman Michael Kearns (D-South Buffalo) wants answers from the N.F.T.A. after a Buffalo man bound to a wheelchair said he was left stranded for more than an hour last week while waiting for a bus operated by the company's paratransit service.

B.J. Stasio relies heavily on the service to get where he needs to go. “It will pick me up at a location and drop me off where I want to be dropped off at say home, medical appointments, recreational.”

The 46 year old, born with cerebral palsy, said he was trying to get home from work last Thursday and had to wait more than an hour outside the Southgate plaza in West Seneca before the paratransit bus actually arrived. So, he asked about the delay.

“They were short of buses and there would be somebody out there coming to pick me up,” he was told.

Passengers like Stasio are typically given a half hour window for pick up times. So he thought he would be picked up between 4:30 and 5:00 P.M., and he said he didn't hear another word until the bus actually arrived after 6:00 P.M.

Kearns is now calling on the N.F.T.A. to rectify the situation. He believes this calls for a change in policy. “There needs to be better communication. If they're going to wait, we need some better communication.”

“If there is a problem, let's work on it together to make the system better for everybody,” Stasio added.

In a statement, an N.F.T.A. spokesman said he didn't know the specifics around this incident and added “I extend our sincere apologies on behalf of the N.F.T.A and will look into the reason for the delay and respond to him directly on Monday."

Kearns hopes to meet with N.F.T.A. officials later this week to discuss what happened.