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NFTA implementing emergency schedule change starting Feb. 13 due to COVID-19, bus driver shortage

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 18:40:33-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The NFTA is implementing an emergency schedule change impacting several bus routes starting February 13 due to COVID-19 and a bus driver shortage.

The following changes will be implemented starting February 13.

  • Most commuter express routes will be temporarily suspended, including routes 60, 61, 64, 66, 67, 69, 74, and 81.
  • Routes 70, 72 and 76 will run on a reduced schedule, with one trip inbound in the morning and one trip outbound in the afternoon.
  • Bus frequencies will decrease on weekends and evenings.
  • Downtown routing will be different for Routes 3, 6, 20, and 24.
  • Minor route changes will occur on routes 8, 12, 14A, 18, 22, 25D, 46
  • Major route changes will occur on Routes 2B, 2C (new), 35, 44, 47, 49
  • Minor routing changes will occur on routes 4, 22, and 26.

The 77 Buffalo-Niagara Falls express will not be affected, and PAL services will not be impacted.

You can view a map of the changes by clicking here.

“The ability to reliably serve our customers continues to be a challenge due to our ongoing driver shortage,” said Tom George, Director of Public Transit, NFTA. “Our riders need to have confidence that their ride will be available as scheduled, and these service modifications will allow us to maintain our commitment to the community. We realize change can be difficult, but our focus remains providing the best service possible to our riders with the available resources.”

"They've always been asking bus riders to live with less and this is going too far,” rider Simon Husted said. "Day after day, week after week, I hope my bus doesn't get cancelled."

Local 1342 Transit Union President Jeffrey Richardson said bus driver wages need to increase to fix the issue of decreased routes and reliability.

"We need the routes to get back, but we need workers,” Richardson said. “We need to fix this, if not we're going to spiral down."

Helen Tederous from the NFTA said the temporary suspensions and route reductions will help alleviate some of that unreliability.

"We really had to make overall reductions within the system," Tederous said. "It is going to be until things normalize within the system."

Tederous said some days, 11 drivers are calling off, coupled with the general shortage, so routes are being cancelled or delayed last minute.

Tederous said Buffalo Public School students who rely on the NFTA to get to school will not be affected. But extra routes like after school and event routes will be temporality suspended.

"It’s unfair to the workers that work here, it's unfair to the passengers," bus operator Kevin Kline said.