Parkside neighborhood residents are complaining about a change in the route that the Colvin No. 11 Metro Bus is taking, starting Sunday morning.
Residents say the change presents hardships for the elderly, people in wheelchairs and schoolchildren during winter weather.
They took their complaints to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority during a session Wednesday night at the Nichols School theater.
Amber A. Small, executive director of the Parkside Community Association, criticized the delay in alerting Parkside-area residents about the change. She insisted that the route shift “really is a detriment to the Parkside community.”
The shift is not expected to increase times for the 1,000 riders who use the Route 11 bus daily, according to Robert Jones, manager of service planning for Metro Bus, and C. Douglas Hartmayer, the NFTA’s director of communications.
The route change will eliminate the Amherst Street section of the route and the Colvin Avenue section of the route from Amherst to Hertel Avenue. It is needed because the compressed natural gas and hybrid-powered buses the NFTA is using cannot safely drive under the Linden Avenue bridge, which is part of the current Colvin route.
The CNG and hybrid buses both need at least 12 feet of clearance, and the Linden bridge, used by CSX trains, has a 9-foot clearance, according to the NFTA officials.
Hartmayer said safety is the paramount concern.
He noted that a delivery truck’s top was knocked off when the driver tried to drive under the bridge Feb. 3. He stressed that if the same accident happened with one of the new CNG buses, the damage could be “a lot more catastrophic” to the bus, its passengers and the nearby neighborhood.
Jones said the Colvin buses that go north on Delaware Avenue from downtown will turn onto Hertel to get to Colvin, bypassing the current route’s Amherst and Colvin section from Amherst to Hertel.
The Amherst No. 32 bus will still be in service, and residents can use the same bus stops they have been using for the Colvin bus on Amherst to take the Amherst bus to Delaware Avenue where they can reboard a Colvin No. 11 bus. The time for the new altered route is expected to be the same as the long-standing use of Amherst Street, according to Jones.
James K. Morrell, NFTA deputy director of public transit, said the NFTA is continually reassessing its bus routes.