NFTA Transporter

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Friday, March 16 - Remember to Thank your Metro Transit Drivers

Metro Driver Mike Mercado
Friday, March 16 is National Driver Appreciation Day, and we need your help in thanking those individuals that get you where you need to go every day - and safely!  

Our Metro drivers served 27 million riders last year which includes over 4,500 bus stops and thousands of trips along the rail line.  That's a lot of service!  

Even though our drivers make the job look easy, maneuvering large vehicles through traffic and inclement weather is tough.  In addition, they maintain tight schedules so that riders get where they need to go on time and safely.  With all that on their "to do" list they deserve some praise, and the best day to do it is one designated for just that!

If you want to recognize your Metro driver(s) you can do it a few ways; something like a nice smile and a wave as you’re boarding your bus or rail car or when you're leaving can go a long way!  You can also post your kind words on social media using #tdad and by tagging @TheNFTA - Facebook, @nftametro - Twitter, @nfta_wny - Instagram, or by calling our Customer Care Center with a commendation at (716) 855-7211.

We hope that you will help us in celebrating the hardworking and dedicated transit drivers that serve our community daily and say thanks especially on March 16. 


Monday, March 12, 2018

800 Steps - A Great Start to a Saturday Morning!

Team Captain Mike Moore in center with NFTA Climbers
including ARFF members on right.
Saturday, March 10, the American Lung Association held its annual Buffalo Air Climb at One Seneca Tower in downtown Buffalo. The event hosted over 500 attendees, many of which were there to climb 36 flights (800 steps) all in support of lung health awareness and cancer research.

There were over 25 teams on site and the NFTA showed up in spades!  They raised over $6,000 and were in the top three group fundraisers.

Now, if that isn't cool enough, four of our 14 climbers also took home awards as follows: Andrew Laforce - 2nd place overall male firefighter (who climbed in full gear), Sean Purtill-3rd Place, male ages 19-29, Patrick Concannon-3rd Place, Male ages 50-59 and Jack Murphy-2nd place, Males ages 60-69. 

Some other highlights - Jessica Dudziak, a former two-time Air Climb award winner, took part as a civilian leaving her 65 pounds of firefighting gear out of the mix but while still carrying a very important bundle, her unborn child.  Brian McDonald, who has been with the NFTA for less than six months was very excited about his participation and rocked it both in fundraising and physically (placing #22 overall).  "It was so great to be a part of this wonderful event and to climb alongside my NFTA colleagues and some of their family members.  I am happy that I was able to support our team, and I look forward to doing it again next year," said Brian. 

Nice job NFTA climbers - what a great achievement! 


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Rachel Maloney Is Making Strides in Transit

Congratulations to Rachel Maloney as she has been selected to take the lead on the Amherst Rail Extension environmental study and preliminary engineering efforts as the Project Manager.  Rachel has been a point person for Metro on this project since its inception and has effectively managed numerous consultants while engaging with the public and collaborating with internal and external stakeholders.

Through her six years in the Service Planning Department, Rachel has been a key member on large planning initiatives including the Amherst Rail Extension, DL&W Station and Niagara Street as well as proactively working with the Citizens Advisory Committee and Go Buffalo Moms.  Prior to joining Metro, Rachel spent three years at the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority as the Manager of the Paratransit LIFT Division and then as the Manager of Grants and Planning.

Rachel is also known for her team-player attitude and willingness to support group initiatives outside of her project manager role.  Each year she helps coordinate the NFTA corporate team for the American Lung Association's Buffalo Air Climb and ascends 36 flights of stairs (800 steps) on behalf of her mother who passed away from COPD.  She is also a graduate of APTA's Emerging Leaders Program and continues to remain active within the network.  

Recognizing Barbara Thomas in Women's History

In honor of Women's history month, the NFTA is highlighting Barbara Thomas who is the first woman to hold the role as Metro Station Manager.

Barbara has worked for the NFTA for 35 years. She started as a bus driver and has made significant trailblazing strides since then.  She has held roles including Transportation Supervisor for Frontier Station and Metro Link as well as Operations Manager of Special Services. 

Barbara currently oversees an estimated 168 employees at Metro's Cold Spring Bus Station in Buffalo.  She has been successful at implementing initiatives to help build rapport among drivers, increase operator commendations and dramatically improve overall customer service.  

"Being a bus driver can be very rewarding, but the job has its challenges.  In my role it's important for me to provide our operators with the necessary resources to help make their job easier and support them so that as a team we can continue to provide the best customer service to our riders as possible," says Barbara.

Outside of the station, Barbara remains extremely involved within the community and over the years has served on several boards including the Erie County Office of the disabled for Erie County.  She is an active member in The Linwood Church of Christ and participates in several Christian committees there.  Barbara is also a former Black Achiever Award recipient. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prior Aviation Hosts Fly-in Career Fair

On February 27, the NFTA and Prior Aviation hosted a Fly-In Career Fair for Maryvale's NAF Academy of Hospitality and Tourism students.  

The Fly-in which was held at one of Prior's hangars at the Buffalo International Airport, provided a unique opportunity for students to engage in one-on-one conversations with representatives from the NFTA, Prior Aviation, Delaware North, JetBlue Airways, the TSA and Enterprise Car Rental.   Throughout the day, the students had the chance to talk in small groups about what type of opportunities are available in the hospitality industry and ask detailed questions specific to each organization that was on hand. 

Maryvale High School is one of two area high schools that offers an intense course of study to qualifying sophomores through seniors that focuses exclusively on the hospitality & tourism industry.  The academy courses are offered in addition to the students’ regular curriculum and is intended to help them make informed decisions on what they may want to pursue in college and possibly their ultimate career.    Mark McNess, who is the Academy lead teacher said, "The students take a plethora of classes that help them define what they want to do in their future.  In addition they are offered great exposure to the wonderful connections that we have in our community like the one we have with the NFTA." 

Approximately 20 students took part in the fly-in and many of them took advantage "flying" one of the few private jets that were located in the hangar.    One of the students, Jamie Kolarch, said, "It was great; I actually got to see it from a point of view when there is nobody on the plane and see what it actually looks like clean and not in use.  What a great experience." 

The day ended with a post-event review and all were on their way - by bus that is!  Thanks to everyone who took part in this, it was very informative for the students and a whole lot of fun!


Friday, March 2, 2018

Lee Weitz appointed the new President of NYAMA

Congratulations to NFTA Deputy Director of Aviation, Lee Weitz, who has been appointed President of the New York Aviation Management Association. NYAMA is the premier aviation organization in New York State and across the country, providing a forum for members to exchange information and ideas and to connect with industry leaders and experts.  

As Deputy Director of Aviation, Lee oversees all maintenance and operations at the Buffalo Niagara and Niagara Falls International Airports, which serves approximately 5 million individuals annually. Lee has led numerous construction projects including BNIA’s inline baggage system replacement project and the TSA security checkpoint improvement project.   He was also a significant contributor to the rehabilitation of Runway 5/23 and 14/31 as well as the economy parking lot expansion projects.

In addition to his responsibilities at the airports, Lee’s knowledge and expertise has also been extremely valuable in unexpected crisis situations.  Lee devoted numerous hours to the Town of Clarence and the families of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 tragedy.   He has also provided critical airport operations assistance during severe weather conditions including the lake effect October Storm of 2006 and November Storm 2014.  Both storms left the City of Buffalo and surrounding areas in a State of Emergency that required a focused closure and clean-up strategy to ensure the safety for anyone traveling to and from Buffalo and the surrounding vicinity.   

Lee’s commitment to the community also continues outside of the airport.  He has served on the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce since 2006 and was the Chairman from 2008-2009.  
He also serves as a mentor for MBA business students at Canisius College.