Students and faculty make effort to restore NFTA bus route

Franklin Hagler, Staff Writer

SUNY Buffalo State is no stranger to construction, and for the past few years it has been a constant theme around the campus. The latest construction project affecting Buffalo State students, however, is one that isn’t being paid for by the college.

The Elmwood Avenue bridge that is over Route 198 has been under construction since June 2015, and although major improvements have been made, the project still seems far from over. Due to the construction, everyone has found it harder to navigate down one of the busier streets in Buffalo. To avoid the traffic, the NFTA announced over the summer that they would not be making their scheduled stop on campus in order to stay on time with their routes.

“The problem is not with the stop, the problem is the location and it puts all of us behind schedule when we have to spend 10 minutes trying to get from one stop to the next,” said Trae Harris, an NFTA bus driver for the past five years.

The 32A bus stop on the corner of Elmwood and Rockwell Road is the furthest stop into the Elmwood Village. Without this stop, students would have to walk up to Amherst Avenue, which is over the bridge, and through the traffic and construction in order to catch the bus which goes to the Walden Galleria Mall.

The NFTA had no intention of changing their decision until students on campus got a hold of newly-elected United Student Government President Terron Grant. After being told of the route change, a petition was quickly put together with over 100 signatures. USG then teamed up with the students and quickly put together 10 well written complaint letters to send to Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner in order to force the administration into taking action against the NFTA.

“I know right now it may still be warm outside but the problem is, what happens when we go through the semester and it starts to get cold? That’s when we will really feel the impact of this change, I mean we pay for these services so it’s really important that we get exactly what we paid for,” Grant said.

Many students find the bus schedules to be difficult to deal with already. Buses normally only come around once an hour which already puts a strain on most people and their schedule. For the many students who are used to using the bus services from downstate, this excuse of “traffic” just isn’t good enough.

“I don’t think that putting a whole student body at risk of crossing a bridge during busy rush hours is safe for anyone,” said Kiana Rodriguez, junior Buffalo State student and Walden Galleria employee. “It’s already hard enough over there without the people who will be swarming to get to the bus. Traffic is

unavoidable and in Manhattan, you see this problem all the time but it’s service we need and that we pay for.”

A change like this could lead to more trouble than its worth. More foot traffic would have meant more delays, which leads to impatient drivers and potential accidents. After NFTA saw the effort put forth by the students, they decided that Sept. 4 would be the first day reopening the stop on campus.

“Students here have a voice and there is so many students all over the place, students who live on Collegiate Campus and by Canisius College that they want more frequent ways to get around,” USG Executive Vice President Idriss Abass said. “I mean we pay our transportation fee so we should be able to get what we want, not [be] forced into some that in the end is more difficult”

The student transportation fee is $52 per semester, which is why students are encouraged to speak up on issues like these, because the bus line is something that some may argue should be designed for convenience of the user, not the driver.

“Traffic is traffic, so I understood why they didn’t want us to travel down Elmwood, because we have people that are going to work and drivers that need to get through their routes,” said Raymond Hamilton, an NFTA bus driver for 10 years.

Some of those “people that are going to work” are also students, too, and some may even live on campus, which is why some may argue that for NFTA to forget its duties to this part of Elmwood wouldn’t be fair to anyone.

Record Editor Patrick Koster contributed to this story.

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