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Shoveling snow at bus stops: Transit Equity Week happening in Buffalo

Bus stops in Buffalo remain icy with snow piles, weeks after storm
Posted at 1:33 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 09:26:12-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Two weeks after that major snow storm, main roads are clear and many sidewalks as well. But still causing headaches are the bus stops.

"If the sidewalk is clear, but no one can get to or from their bus because they have to climb over a mountain of snow to do it, that's not acceptable," said Holly Nowak, Executive Director of the Coalition of Economic Justice.

Nowak notes this restricts access for many who need to get to doctors appointments, education, jobs, childcare and even food.

So this week, you'll see volunteers with the Coalition for Economic Justice at bus stops in Buffalo with ice picks and shovels, in recognition of Transit Equity Day, which commemorates Rosa Parks' birthday.

Transit Equity week is Jan 29-Feb 4
Transit Equity week is Jan 29-Feb 4

"It's a national event that's been happening for 4 years now. This year we decided to do a whole week focusing on snow removal as an equity issue," said Nowak.

Snow is not the only problem mounting for riders, per Nowak. A shortage of drivers is another.

"Every day operations have been dramatically hampered by the combination of operator shortage and the growing absenteeism rates related to COVID-19 illness and exposures," the NFTA said in a statement.

This is leading to a change of services coming on February 13:

  • Most commuter express routes will be temporarily suspended.
    • This includes routes in Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, Lockport, Lancaster, Hamburg and Buffalo's East Side ( 66, 67, 69, 74, and 81)
  • Bus frequencies will decrease on weekends and evenings. 
  • Route changes:
    • 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.
      • East Aurora, Orchard Park, Hamburg Express
    • The 77 Buffalo-Niagara Falls express will not be affected.
    • Downtown
      • Downtown routing will be different for Routes 3, 6, 20, and 24.
    • Erie County
      • Thruway Mall Transit Center: Minor routing changes will occur on routes 4, 22, and 26. 
    • Minor route changes will occur on routes 8, 12, 14A, 18, 22, 25D, 46
      • Main st., Utica St., Jefferson, Porter-Best, Delaware
    • Major route changes will occur on Routes 2B, 2C (new), 35, 44, 47, 49
      • Clinton St., Sheridan St., Lockport

“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," said Tom George, Director of Public Transit with the NFTA.

Transit Equity week falls on Rosa Parks' birthday
Transit Equity week falls on Rosa Parks' birthday

While CEJ Buffalo continues to fight to make things easier for riders, their focus right now is making bus stops as safe as possible.

"People are gonna continue to live their lives, they just have to take a certain amount of risk to do it if they're using the bus," said Nowak.

If you want to help them, click here.