NFTA should try hailing a ride into the 21st century
No sooner was ride-hailing approved for Western New York, once reserved for the New York City area, than the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority tried to impose a $3.50 surcharge for Uber and Lyft drivers traveling to and from the airport. The transit agency leaders quickly blamed ride-hailing on a forecasted $2 million loss in revenue as a means of justifying the surcharge.
How can an underachieving agency complain about losing money? The NFTA’s ineptitude coincides with Buffalo’s overall decline, starting with the NFTA’s six-decade delinquency on the Outer Harbor. Even after surrendering its Outer Harbor property, evidently thriving without their involvement, they continue to find reasons to reduce bus services at the very time commuters are demanding alternate modes of transportation. The NFTA also voted against the Central Terminal, and against a rare public coalition, in the recent train station debate. And after three decades, discussions regarding Metro Rail expansion are no closer to shovels in the ground.
Buffalo is already far behind the national curve when it comes to public transportation. Yet the NFTA constantly shuns any opportunity for improvement, instead choosing to undermine any possible challenge to its own irresponsibility. Who among us are expected to feel sorry for them?
The writing is on the wall: Time to reboot the NFTA.
Bradley J. Bethel Jr.