NFTA says essential rider bus passes would do more harm than good

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Legislator April Baskin has proposed a measure to limit non-essential travel on NFTA buses.

In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, Baskin proposed the creation of an “Essential Worker Rider” bus pass to limit non-essential riders. She is also asking for the NFTA to report protective measures the company is taking.

The NFTA believes implementing an essential card process would prove to do more harm than good, though.

NFTA Director of Public Affairs Helen Tederous says this would “in effect, create an interaction we want to avoid.”

“We share Chairwoman April Baskin’s concerns regarding the safety of both our riders and our operators. The NFTA is working extremely hard to do everything possible to create a safe environment for all,” Tederous says.

NFTA has already eliminated fare collection, which allows passengers to board in the rear, keeping them away from the bus driver. Overcrowding hasn’t been an issue either, Tederous says.

“It is important to note that we are not having a major issue with overcrowded buses,” Tederous says. “In fact, 99.5 percent of our buses have less than 15 people on board, 94 percent, less than nine.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Cuomo announced that anyone unable to maintain social distancing protocol while in public must wear a covering on their mouth and nose.

MORE | Watch Cuomo’s Wednesday briefing here.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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