NFTA Transporter

Monday, December 29, 2014

NFTA Transit Police Spread Joy to WNY Families

NFTA Transit Police Officers with
Tom Gualiardo, CEO, BBBS
Friday, December 23, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Transit Police helped spread a bit of holiday cheer to five local families, covering 18 children, in Western New York. In the past few months, the officers collected over $2,000 in donations and worked with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Erie County to identify families of which they could provide special gifts for this year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Santa visits Operator Michael Gray

Mike with the United Way's Heather Quigley
Santa came early this year to Metro operator Michael Gray. As a result of Mike’s generous support of the United Way campaign, he won a $1,000 gift card from Tops Friendly Markets.

His name was one of many drawn to receive prizes donated by local companies to support the United Way’s Challenge program. Mike is a seven year veteran, who operates from our Frontier facility.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air at the MTC

Tuesday, December 16, Annalise deZoete from the American Lung Association was on hand in our MTC concourse during South Park High's holiday musical performance to provide collateral materials and registration information to NFTA employees and interested passers-by for the ALA's 5th Annual Fight for Air Climb occurring Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Woman of Influence - Vicky-Marie Brunette

Nancy LaTulip, VP of Lakeshore Savings Bank, 
Kathleen Maxian, Pres.,WNY Ovarian Cancer Project
and Vicky-Marie Brunette
The NFTA’s Deputy General Counsel Vicky-Marie Brunette was honored this year by Business First as a Woman of Influence. The awards are given out each year, in a handful of categories, to help shine a spotlight on women doing remarkable work in our community.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

For Chief Morris

In memory of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Chief Michael Morris (Ret.) we are posting a letter from Captain William Major's 16-year-old daughter Morgan, written as a tribute to the Chief.

Holiday "Magic" at the Downtown Bus Terminal

Thursday, December 4, Mount Mercy Academy's Magic Belles, along with their Musical Director Fred Kirisits, helped kick off the 7th Annual NFTA Metro "Sounds of the Season" performance series inside our downtown transportation center. The 17 person ensemble delighted visitors and employees alike with a 40 minute concert that included many holiday favorites including an amazingly accomplished version of Jingle Bells.   

NFTA Metro’s Sounds of the Season is an annual event that showcases live performances by local and high school groups. Each year, at least 300 students from across Western New York volunteer their time and talents to help create a fun environment for travelers, employees and patrons of the Tim Hortons restaurant.

Upcoming participants include Our Lady of Black Rock (Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m.), South Park High School (Dec. 16, 12 p.m.), the Marching Santa's Band from Akron High School (Dec. 19, 8:30 a.m.), and Bennett High School (Dec. 19, 9 a.m.). If you have some time, be sure to stop by and enjoy some festive holiday music!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Senator Charles Schumer at the Buffalo Airport

NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel,
Commissioner Adam W. Perry and Senator Charles E. Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer held a press conference at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Monday, Dec. 8 to call attention to drone use in and around airports. Schumer asked the Federal Aviation administration and the Office for Management and Budget to move forward with rules governing the use of small, unmanned aircraft.

Welcome back Regina

Regina Hardy returns to the Metropolitan Transportation Center as Compliance Specialist in the Equal Employment/Diversity Development Department. In this role she will assist with the authority's affirmative action plan as it relates to the implementation of the disadvantaged business enterprise and equal employment opportunity programs.

EEO has designs on Carolyn

Carolyn Cocannon has recently been promoted to the position of NFTA’s Equal Employment/Diversity Development Assistant. She has worked as the MTC Receptionist since September. Before coming to the NFTA, Carolyn was the Office Manager at Garden Gate Health Facility on Union Road in Cheektowaga, where she was responsible for daily office operations, supervising employees and handling  public relations.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Robert Guise is on track

Robert Guise is Metro’s new Manager of Rail Maintenance. Bob will be charged with overseeing Rail Capital Projects Program, which includes the railcar rebuild. Bob is quickly approaching 32 years with the Authority.

It's "Land ho" for Chris Todorov

Christ with recognition from Hope Chest Buffalo
Chris Todorov is Metro Rail’s new Superintendent of Facility Maintenance. Chris will be responsible for raising the quality and appearance of the Metro Rail Stations, while assisting with advertising, and improving the accuracy and timeliness of public notifications. Chris comes to the rail after 18 years with the NFTA, most recently as manager of the Boat Harbor.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Congratulations Christine Farrow

The NFTA has a new Manager of the Employee Assistance Program. Christine Farrow takes over after seven years with Metro in the Special Services Department. Christine has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Buffalo since 2012. Her previous experience includes working as a Substance Abuse Counselor for Cazenovia Recovery Systems and Employment Counselor for Phoenix Frontier, giving her an excellent foundation for work in the EAP.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Let it snow

Exec. Dir. Kimberley Minkel with the Airfield Crew. Click to view more.
The Airfield crew at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport held an open house Thursday, Oct. 30. The big machines are ready for whatever winter throws at us this year and the award-winning team that drives and maintains the plows, blowers and sanders is eager to crank them up.

Mechanic, Welder, Inventor

Buffalo Airport mechanic and welder John Kwasniewski got a little frustrated with the broom trucks last winter. Hydraulic lines, which cause the brooms to raise, lower and angle, continuously froze and broke. John designed a special metal fitting to keep the lines from becoming coated in ice and subsequently breaking under pressure.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NFTA Metro Shines at Light the Night Walk

On September 26, six NFTA Metro staff members along with family and friends participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk at Delaware Park.

Light the Night is a fundraising event of the LLS, which brings together families and communities to honor blood cancer survivors, as well as those lost to the diseases. The event “shines a light” on the importance of finding cures and providing access to treatments for blood cancer patients.

Barbara Thomas helped coordinate the event authority-wide as its team captain. She was assisted by staff volunteers on each floor of the MTC, from the three bus stations and at the rail who helped sell individual $1 sponsorships.   The NFTA Metro team raised over $1,700 for this worthy cause. Also, at the event, the team displayed a special banner for two fellow employees, Tom Carroll and Larry Watkins, who have been fighting their own personal battles with Leukemia.

Congratulations to everyone who was involved with this extraordinary event on behalf of NFTA Metro.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Minkel Receives Buffalo 612’ Honor

Our own Executive Director, Kim Minkel was honored October 7, as one Western New York’s most effective business leaders with a WNY C-Level Executive Award during a noonday luncheon at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens Restaurant.

Black Achiever Gary Bennett

Congratulations to our 2014 Black Achieve Award recipient, Gary Tracy Bennett. Gary came to the NFTA in 2008 as a Service Planner Analyst, after receiving his Master of Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo. Gary’s undergraduate degree is from the State University at Fredonia, where he continues to teach in his spare time.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Niagara Falls International Airport Customers Get a Charge from New Stations

NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel with
Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer.
click for more photos
The Niagara Falls International Airport now has two new charging stations for airport traveler use, as part of a statewide network of up to 3,000 EV charging stations slated for public and workplace locations across New York State by 2018. The charging stations are being undertaken through the Governor Cuomo’s Charge NY Initiative.

The charging stations at the NFIA are among 100 that the New York Power Authority and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are installing by the end of the year at 37 public and workplace locations around the state, including three at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Congratulations Vivian

Vivian Rodgers is our new ADA/EEO Administrator in the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Development Department. She has been with the Authority for four years, and loved every minute of it.

Congratulations Kara

Kara Jeziorski has joined the Health, Safety and Environmental Quality Department as our new Safety & Quality Assurance Coordinator. Kara has been with the Authority for about a year, learning the organization in one of the most thorough methods we have: Central Services. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

NFTA Metro Participates in UB Sustainability Living Fair

Mary Padasak, Health and Safety; Lisa Piecki 
and Breanne Flynn, Communications and Marketing
On Tuesday, September 16, the University of Buffalo held its sixth annual Sustainability Living Fair in the Student Union at North Campus. There were approximately 30 vendors on site to promote and discuss services that help improve the environmental impact within Western New York.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NFTA Transit Police Befriends Children from Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Thursday, August 14, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Transit Police Officers, Adam Brodsky, Thomas Dewey and Shaun McDonnell, accompanied three young boys, who had been on a special event wait list with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Erie County, to a Buffalo Bisons baseball game.

During the game, the boys had a chance to learn more about the sport from their escorts, as well as share common interests and have some laughs with the officers. Big Brothers, Big Sisters is an organization that supports 1-to-1 mentoring relationships to assist children challenged by issues such as divorce, bullying, educational and career matters, as well as just general day-to-day youth concerns.

Alicia Bartsch from Big Brothers, Big Sisters said that she is extremely grateful to the NFTA Transit Police for their support and said, “The children had an incredible time at the game and our staff was impressed with how amazingly well the officers interacted with the kids. It’s funny, but a simple outing like this can have such a positive impact on young and impressionable minds. We would like to give a special thanks to Lt. Jim Halliday and Officer Mike Davies for their help in coordinating this event and their planned participation in future mentoring activities with our organization.”

For more information about programs and volunteer opportunities with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, go to

Friday, August 29, 2014

Captain Major to the Rescue

Saturday, August 16 at 9:30 a.m. the phone rang in the firehouse at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. An elderly woman had fallen in one of the restrooms in the terminal and required assistance. Responding firefighters found a woman on the floor in a very weak condition. It turns out the woman was a cancer patient who had just been released from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute the day before so she could attend a family reunion in Charleston South Carolina.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day of Caring is a Way of Sharing

click for more photos
Once again, as in years past, volunteers from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority stepped up to help their neighbors by participating in the annual United Way Day of Caring August 20.

Our team of hardy workers rolled up their sleeves, put on their work gloves and pulled together to help Habitat for Humanity of Buffalo - a non-profit agency, refurbish a home on Rhode Island Street on Buffalo’s westside.

Throughout the day they performed various jobs including painting, installing drywall, prep work for an outside deck, in addition to mixing and pouring cement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sunwing is going to take flight from Buffalo

Lawrence R. Ellicott, Group VP Business & Corporate Affairs,
Sunwing Travel Group
An announcement at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport today made many people who like to get away from Mother Nature’s cold wintery weather very happy. Travelers will now be able escape to the beach this winter with the introduction of two new services from Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations.

Flights from the BNIA to Cancun International Airport will begin January 17, 2015 and operate through May 9, 2015, while flights to Punta Cana International Airport will be available between February 14 and May 9. The new routes represent the first nonstop scheduled international destinations to be offered from the BNIA since the early 2000s.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vicky-Marie J. Brunette to be honored by Business First

Vicky-Marie J. Brunette has been nominated by Business First as one of Western New York’s Outstanding Women of Influence in the “Behind the Scenes” category for her professional contributions in her role as Deputy General Counsel at the NFTA. Vicky will be honored along with 26 other amazing women at the Eighth Annual Awards luncheon ceremony September 16 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens.

Although this award comes to Vicky due to her extraordinary work ethic and positive impact as an attorney for the NFTA, it’s almost somewhat ironic since Vicky’s pre-lawyer days included being behind the scenes as a writer for a nationally syndicated television show on PBS.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Makeover at 1404 Main Street

On Tuesday July 22, NFTA Chief of Police George Gast presented certificates of appreciation to maintenance employees John Ritzenthaler, Michael Mingo, Jerzy Galazka, Rafael Marquez, Ernie Desimone and Michael Buxton (not pictured) for their collective assistance in completing the recent “facelift” to the transit police headquarters located at 1404 Main Street.

Monday, July 21, 2014

BNIA Fire Chief and Habitat for Humanity

In early July, Ed McDonald, Chief of the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Unit at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, as part of his involvement with Habitat for Humanity traveled with his team of 17 volunteers to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to build homes for victims effected by the recent tornados that have destroyed the area. 

Go big

Antonov 124 at NFIA. Click for more photos.
An Antonov 124, one of the largest planes in the world landed at the Niagara Falls International Airport July 17. The plane has a wingspan of 240 feet and its unloaded weight is 385,000 pounds. Its mission was to pick up an 114,000 pound generator and transport it to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Bob Stone, NFIA Manager was on hand to extend best wishes for a safe journey to some of the 16 members of the crew just prior to departure. At 9,829 feet in length, the NFIA's main runway can accommodate the largest planes from anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BNIA Plays Role in National Disaster Drill

Click for more
Saturday, July 12 seemed like a normal summer day at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to the casual observer. But that was not the case as the airport’s Crash Fire Rescue Unit along with members of the NFTA Police department was part of a national disaster drill being played out behind the scene at the BNIA.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Take me out to the ball game...

Click for more photos
Thursday, July 10, the NFTA held its second annual Family Night at Coca-Cola Field! A combined 80 individuals made up of employees, family and friends came out on a beautiful 75 degree evening to see the Buffalo Bisons play the Durham Bulls.  The night got off to a great start with two “first” pitches thrown by Metro bus operator and local hero, Darnell Barton, and Nick Kurtz, the newest member of the Human Resources Department.  Although both men did very well, it was their individual pre-throw grandstanding that was the highlight for their fellow NFTA fans! 

Later on in the evening Mary Padasak from the NFTA’s Health/Safety Department and Louis Manolis of Central Files enthusiastically went head-to-head in a Jumbotron trivia contest with the winner (Louis) receiving a Bisons T-shirt.  About her involvement Mary said, “What I enjoyed most was being able to take part in a fun-filled event on behalf of the NFTA; winning would have just been secondary.” 
Last but not least on the list of NFTA employee contestants for the evening was Service Planning’s Rachel Maloney.  Rachel participated in Metro’s on field target toss where she adeptly and impressively hit the mark twice!  

Thank you to all of the employees, families and friends who attended the game; next year we hope to have a third annual NFTA Family Night and make it an additional success!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Customer Appreciation Night

On Tuesday, June 24, as part of a sponsorship with the Buffalo Bisons, NFTA Metro held its Customer Appreciation Night at Coca Cola Field. Upon entering the gates, all individuals received a Metro token giveaway as well as a $2 discount off game tickets to those attendees showing valid Metro proof of fare.

With a steamy 84 degree evening and a backdrop display of Metro vehicles on the plaza area, NFTA’s Executive Director, Kim Minkel and Metro’s Director of Public Transit, Tom George, along with additional staff had the opportunity to interact with the public and discuss Metro services, as well as thank current customers for their continued support.  Chief George Gast and Officer Bob Bove from the NFTA Transit Police were also present with Cora, a member of their specially trained Canine unit. 

Muhammed Sam Sambundu, a graduate student at Buffalo State College and participant in Metro’s Dump the Pump 2014 testimonial campaign, threw out a well-thrown first pitch.  There were approximately 4,850 attendees through the gates and the outreach event proved to be a great success!



Friday, June 27, 2014

Dump the Pump Day

NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel rides Metro Rail
with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
In honor of National Dump the Pump day on Thursday, June 19, USA today teamed up with NFTA Metro to provide newspapers to approximately 30,000 morning commuters on both Metro Bus and Rail. In addition, Metro riders were excited to receive Metro Xtras passes good for discounts at various vendor locations through June 27. This day would not have been possible without the coordinated effort of Metro employees and operational staff. We would also like to thank our riders for their continued support!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mayor Byron W. Brown Proclaims June 19 Dump the Pump Day in Buffalo

The ninth annual National Dump the Pump Day is Thursday, June 19.  It’s a day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association where individuals across the country are encouraged to use public transportation as a way to save money, conserve gasoline and reduce carbon omissions in our environment.

Mayor Byron W. Brown officially proclaimed June 19 as “Dump the Pump Day in the City of Buffalo,” during a press event held yesterday on the steps of City Hall.  Joined by Kimberley Minkel, NFTA Executive Director; Douglas Funke, President of Citizens for Regional Transit, and members of the Sierra Club Niagara the mayor proposed that commuters use public transportation instead of driving to work on Thursday.

To support this initiative, Metro has coordinated a system wide effort to distribute free USA Today newspapers to Metro riders during the morning commute on the 19th.  In addition, riders will also be eligible to obtain a free Metro Xtras discount pass that is redeemable through June 27, at participating vendors, while supplies last.

For anyone that has convenient access to Metro services, we ask that you, too, consider leaving your car at home Thursday and support National Dump the Pump Day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Grants granted award

Congratulations to Jeff Amplement, Asst. Grants Manager in the NFTA's Government Affairs group and graduate student in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University at Buffalo, who has been awarded the Michael J. Krasner Memorial Scholarship. Jeff has been honored for his continued and vibrant commitment to the planning issues in Western and Upstate New York; as well as how his ideals reflecting those of Mr. Michael Krasner. This award is in loving memory for Michael Krasner who served our community as a senior planner with the Erie County Office of Environment and Planning for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

From Executive Director Kimberley Minkel:

On May 11, the NFTA closed on the Outer Harbor property. This includes the Boat Harbor, Gallagher Beach and the vacant parcel north of the Bell Slip. The deed filing completed transfers ownership to Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. We will continue to operate the Boat Harbor this season until November 15th after which time operations will be transferred to New York State Parks Department.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NFTA Honored by TSA

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has been awarded a “Gold Standard” rating by the Transportation Security Administration. It is their highest honor, and we are one of only six transit agencies to receive it this year.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bus Operator Rhonda Cox-McKnight, "Gurl on Fire"

Bus Operator Rhonda (Rhonni) Cox-McKnight who works out of Babcock Station has been managing her job at NFT Metro as well as a media career for almost eight years. Rhonda indicated that people have often inquired how she got into the television business. She credits the late Sammy “Pee-Wee” West who worked as an independent producer at the Apollo Media Center for providing her with her first big break years ago as the host of his show, 15 Minutes of Fame and Fortune. Rhonda said, “Pee-Wee thought that I had the untapped natural ability to become a television host. Because of this, he gave me my first chance to shine.”

Sue Fadel Gets a New Look

Sue Fadel, Superintendent of Service Planning and a 27-year veteran employee at NFTA, had over six inches of her hair cut off on (Good) Friday, April 18, to support Locks of Love. Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces made from donated ponytails to financially and health challenged children in the United States and Canada. These children are all under age 21 and are suffering from long-term medical hair loss due to a variety of causes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pat Dalton Changes His Hat, Again

Pat Dalton will be assuming additional duties in his new role as the Director, Internal Audit & Corporate Compliance. In addition to his audit responsibilities, Pat will be responsible for the various compliance reporting required under the Authorities Budget Office and Office of the State Comptroller. This includes ensuring the NFTA is in compliance with reporting requirements of the Public Authorities Laws, Public Authorities Accountability Act and the Public Authorities Reform Act to promote accountability and full public disclosure. Also included in his responsibilities will be the Annual Public Authorities data request as required by various sections of the Public Authorities Law.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Easter Train

The Easter Bunny hopped on Metro Rail last Thursday, April 17, greeting riders on the train and in the Rail stations all afternoon.  Special thanks to all the rail staff that helped EB out during his visit.

Get ready to...

National Dump the Pump Day is June 19, 2014. This is a day where individuals are especially encouraged to use public transportation or other alternatives instead of driving. In addition to the environmental benefits, using public transit is an extremely economical way to travel. As a matter of fact, the household that downsizes to one car can save, on average, more than $9,900 a year.

Want to get more involved in One Region Forward but don’t have time to attend a meeting?

Text It Forward is a new engagement campaign launched by One Region Forward, a regional planning effort in Buffalo Niagara. The campaign utilizes an SMS-based survey tool that allows citizens to text their responses to questions that will inform One Region Forward’s planning team. One Region Forward, a three year regional planning initiative, has set out to find more sustainable ways for Buffalo Niagara to grow its economy, building communities, travel, produce food, and meet the challenges of climate change.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Welcome John T. Cox, CFO

John T. Cox is the NFTA’s new Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the financial health and wellbeing of the Authority. John comes to us from the City of Rochester, where he served for the past two years as Deputy Director of Finance and Accounting. John earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a master’s in accounting from Binghamton University. He stayed in Binghamton after college, as Comptroller/Director of Finance, City of Binghamton, overseeing the city’s cash management and investment strategies and assisting with the city’s annual budget.

And the job goes to… Nick Kurtz

On his first day as an Intern in the Communications Department at the NFTA, Nick was asked to assist with a group of children participating in Metro's Sounds of the Season Program. Without hesitation he did what was asked and all with a smile on his face. Since then, Nick has gone on to tackle many projects of a significant nature, and for the past year has worked part time in the Human Resources Department.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Scholarship to the NFTA's Mike Hernandez

Misael Hernandez has been awarded not one, but two scholarships at Medaille College's Annual Honors Convocation. You may know him as "Mike," in Metro Accounting. He started off as a Metro bus driver in 2004 and has continued to achieve further milestones while balancing family, a career and school.

Safety and Service Awards 2014

The 29th Annual Safety and Service Awards luncheon was held Sunday, April 6, at the Protocol Restaurant to recognize NFTA employees who had achieved various milestones in their careers. Executive Director Kimberley Minkel, was on hand to honor employees. She was joined by NFTA Board Vice Chair Henry M. Sloma and Commissioners Philip G. Wilcox and Margo Dawn Downey.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Everyone needs a little exercise

The NFTA's tactical team (click for more photos)
The NFTA Transit Police Department, along with law enforcement personnel from throughout the region, conducted a full-scale intermodal security training exercise on March 29 at Metro's Cold Spring facility.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NFTA Metro's High Achievers

On Saturday, March 8, the American Lung Association hosted its 4th Annual Buffalo Air Climb with NFTA Metro as its major sponsor. This unique event, sometimes referred to as a “vertical road race” was held at One Seneca Tower where an overwhelming 470 adrenaline-filled individuals came to take part in the 38-floor stair climb.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another act of heroism by a Metro employee

On a frigid day in Buffalo, while traveling on the 190 North near the Peace Bridge exit, Bus Supervisor Antoine Moore, noticed a car was stuck on the railroad tracks on the opposite side of the thruway. He proceeded to turn around and investigate. When he arrived on the scene, he climbed over the fence that was between the highway and the railroad tracks and found an elderly woman who was stuck in her car on the tracks.