WEST SENECA, N.Y. -- A local assemblyman is calling on the NFTA Metro System to improve its services for those living with disabilities.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns said a wheelchair-bound man, B.J. Stasio, was left out in the cold for more an hour and a half when his Paratransit bus didn't pick him up in West Seneca. It was supposed to pick him up at 4 p.m. at the Southgate Plaza on Union Road in West Seneca.
Stasio was waiting until someone who works at the plaza brought him inside. That person happened to be one of Kearns' legislative staff members.
"I want [the] NFTA to be held accountable as to why they're not providing their service adequately to all people with disabilities," Stasio said. "What happened on Thursday, I hope never happens again. But if it does, I have a feeling we'll be back here again."
Kearns, who has long advocated for people with disabilities, says it is unacceptable, and the NFTA needs to have a better system for communicating with clients.
"And that's very concerning to me as a state legislator as we come down to the last two weeks of session, and we're fighting for more money for the NFTA for Paratransit service," he said.
NFTA Director of Public Affairs Doug Hartmayer responded Saturday afternoon with this statement:
"While I do not have any specific details at this time as to why our paratransit service was late in picking up Mr. Stasio, I want to extend to him our sincere apologies on behalf of the NFTA and will look into the reason for the delay and respond to him directly on Monday. And at the same time I want to thank the individual who brought him in from the cold."
NFTA's Paratransit Access Line, or PAL, exists to serve Western New Yorkers with varying disabilities. Those in need of the service must prove their eligibility, and they pay for the transportation just as able-bodied commuters do.