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Saturday, June 6, 2015
By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


Lockport, Niagara Falls and Niagara County public officials were not informed of a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority decision to cancel the Lockport-to-BOCES portion of Route 55 — also known as Route 55L.

The NFTA also opted against a public hearing on the matter because it affects "less than 25 percent of the route," the NFTA told Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey after she called them about the elimination of the Lockport route.

The mayor was one of a number of politicians who heard about the change to the route via an East Niagara Post story published Thursday evening. The "L" is slated for cancelation June 19.

"This is the first I've heard of this," Niagara County Legislator Tony Nemi of Lockport said Friday morning via email in response to a request for comment on the story. "It is very disappointing to say the least. I will look into to see what I can find out."

"We haven't heard of anything from the NFTA," said state Sen. Rob Ortt's Communication Director Antoinette DelBel.

"I didn't know anything about it," added Niagara County Legislator Dennis Virtuoso, who represents Niagara Falls.

Virtuoso said he spoke with Henry Sloma, who represents Niagara County in the NFTA "and he didn't even know anything about it."

Virtuoso is hoping Sloma can set up a meeting between the NFTA and Niagara County, Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda officials.

Virtuoso said he imagined the cut was due to low ridership, often the case with changes to NFTA routes.

McCaffrey said that's exactly what the NFTA told her. An East Niagara Post request for comment from the NFTA went unreturned on Friday.

"She told me it's based on ridership. The volume being so low that it doesn't support that leg of the trip," McCaffrey explained.

"She said for three months — one quarter — there were 28 riders," McCaffrey said. That would be 28 riders total over the course of 480 bus trips between Lockport's Locust Street bus stop and BOCES.

"She was very emphatic that that's what the numbers were," McCaffrey said. "I told her the number surprised me."

One saving grace, McCaffrey said, is that NFTA paratransit clients will continue to get transport until March 31, 2016.

RELATED LINK: 
COMING SUNDAY: 
  • NFTA riders react to cancellation



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