NFTA reduces bus service to Village of Sloan

NFTA bus service through the heart of Sloan was reduced by the authority in March citing a lack of ridership. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
NFTA bus service through the heart of Sloan was reduced by the authority in March citing a lack of ridership. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

SLOAN – The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority recently discontinued servicing a portion of the Village of Sloan and it was a topic of discussion at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

“They didn’t give us any warning,” Village Clerk Debra Smith told residents.

The route variant serving Reiman Street, Halstead Avenue, and Gierlach Street was stopped at the beginning of March due to the lack of ridership according to NFTA spokesperson Helen Tederous.

“In order for us to provide the best and most efficient service, it’s important to continuously streamline our system. The route variant serving Reiman Street, Halstead Avenue, and Gierlach Street had only seven boardings a day, and was removed from service at the beginning of March. This change has little impact as there are other accessible stops along Broadway, which is less than a quarter mile away. Customers were alerted to this change back in February with various rider alerts, instant updates, and through our website,” Ms. Tederous wrote in a prepared statement to Cheektowaga Chronicle.

“We really don’t have a say in it,” said Ms. Smith.  “Years ago there used to be almost 100 buses a day and we got complaints that people didn’t want them here.”

She said the village was able to reduce the number of buses in 2005 and ridership continued to drop off over the next decade.

“I think the final thing was when Walmart closed and you really don’t have any riders that were coming through here,” said Ms. Smith.

Alicia McDevitt of Reiman Steet told the village board that she rode one of the eight buses a day to get to work and to travel downtown.

“We use the bus on occasion, and we’re at the end of the line, so you won’t see as many riders coming here because we are at the end of the line and the beginning when coming from the other direction,”  said Ms. McDevitt.  “We have some people with sight issues that were taking the bus.  I used to see them on the corner with their guide dogs and for them to have to cross over Broadway is really a safety issue for them.”

Ms. Smith says riders seeking to go downtown can pick up a bus at the bus loop at Michael and Broadway without crossing the busy roadway.

Trustee Tammy Bayes says the village tried to help organize a petition drive to save the route last year at various events.

“We helped them along with that, and like Deb said, we’re not the NFTA.  We helped them because the drivers came to us saying this might happen and brought the information to us,” said Ms. Bayes.

The NFTA said it would review the matter in a year according to Ms. Smith.  Ms. Bayes says if enough people contact the NFTA maybe they could reinstate the route.

“If they get ten calls from you, and Deb is saying something and the board is saying something, maybe when they review this again they’ll take more note of what is being said,” said Ms. Bayes.