As a way to save seven million dollars and help close a $15 million budget gap, the NFTA on Monday voted to reduce service or cut about 80 bus routes as part of its proposed 2012-2013 budget.
* From downtown Buffalo to the McKinley Mall.
* From the University station to Millard Suburban Hospital.
* From the city's Riverside area to U.B.'s North Campus.
"A lot of it's based on riderships numbers, it's also based on are there other means for people to get to work, so we tried as much as we can so we wouldn't strand riders," said NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel.
Eunice Lewin was one of three of the nine board members to vote against the cuts.
Scott Brown: "For people who depend on the busses, what do you think this is going to mean to them?"
Eunice Lewin: "They might not be able to get to their jobs, it will add to the unemployment list. It's important for people to get to their jobs, very, very important."
But Ellicott District Councilmember Darius Pridgen, who represents many of the people who would be affected by the cuts, took the opposite view, saying it was important not to raise fares.
Scott Brown: "Do you think this is going to cost people their jobs?"
Councilmember Darius Pridgen: "You know I would hope not, that it does not, I know we have smart people around the table here at the NFTA."
If the cuts to the bus routes go through, it would cost about 120 NFTA employees their jobs.
The Authority is also laying off another 50 people, including 20 members of its police force.
Minkel, the Authority's Executive Director, makes $170,000 a year.
Scott Brown: "In a show of symbolism did you consider cutting your own pay?"
Kimberley Minkel: "We have no increases for salaries going into next year because I do think it's important for a shared sacrifice. Cutting salaries is not going to get us to $15 million.
Scott Brown: "But if you're laying off people, in a show of shared sacrifice or leadership, wouldn't that at least be symbolic?"
Kimberely Minkel: "And when we take a look at total pay absolutely."
The NFTA will now hold a series of public hearings on the proposed changes.
The new budget will take effect on April 1st.