NFTA Transporter

Monday, March 18, 2019

NFTA Introduces Internal Emergency Call System 6001

Keeping our valued employees and customers safe is of the highest importance to all of us here at the NFTA. That is why we have a new and improved internal emergency call system in place for everyone.  

Emergency stickers will be provided to all employees to place on their office phones, but to follow is how the new emergency system will work.   

Dial 6001 or 630-6001 from any NFTA phone, or the 7-digit number from a cellphone and once you reach the auto attendant, you will hit "1" if you are at the Buffalo Airport and "2" for any other location. Your call will then be routed appropriately for your emergency.  Note, the initial greeting will play twice, and if no option is selected the call will automatically go to the NFTA's TAPD Dispatch.  

If you dial “911” from an NFTA phone, the call is routed “outside” to Buffalo Police, Buffalo Fire, or other applicable Emergency Services providers.  It then needs to be routed back to NFTA TAPD or ARFF.  Using the new number above (630-6001) streamlines this process for quicker response.  For any additional questions, please contact the NFTA's HSEQ department. 

Take our Survey - Win Metro Passes

Metro wants to know how we are doing. Please take our bus and rail surveys now through April 14, 2019 at Metro Customer Surveys.

Metro is also giving away five Metro monthly passes in a random drawing, so be sure to enter your name at the end of the survey.  All winners will be notified by June 30.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

On the Move in Human Resources

There is more great news for the Human Resources Department.  Amy Hughes has been promoted to the position of Manager, Labor Relations/Professional Development.  Amy’s new role will include support in arbitrations, labor agreements, grievances, and hearings in addition to her recruitment/staff development responsibilities. 

Nick Kurtz has been promoted to Manager, Employment Records. Nick's role will include benefits support and compensation, data management, procurement compliance, analytics, unemployment/FMLA administration and data automation.

Ironically, both Amy and Nick are celebrating work anniversaries this month (March).  Amy has worked for the NFTA for two years and Nick for six.  Nick began working at the NFTA as a communications intern while he was attending Medaille College and continues to give back by mentoring students on the value of participating in good internships.

Please join in congratulating Amy and Nick on their great achievements.    

Welcome Linda Bilowus

Linda Bilowus has recently joined the NFTA as its new Employee Relations Specialist in Human Resources.  Linda brings with her over 25 years of professional services in progressive leadership, employee recruitment, employee relations, conflict resolution, training and compliance.  She has a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and a Master's in Business from D'Youville College, which is also her former employer.   

Linda has a daughter who is a Physician's Assistant working in   emergency services at a hospital in Florida and a son that is in his second year of law school at the University of Buffalo.  When the weather is nice, she enjoys outdoor gardening and yardwork with her boyfriend and taking photographs to post to her expansive photo library.  

Please join in welcoming Linda to the NFTA family. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

NFTA Climbs Steps and Raises Money for the ALA

Saturday, March 9, the American Lung Association held its annual Buffalo Air Climb at the Main Place Tower in downtown Buffalo.  The event hosted over 500 firefighters in full-gear and civilian participants that climbed 24 flights (470 steps) in support of lung health and cancer research.

There were over 75 teams on site and the NFTA showed up in grand form with both a civilian team organized by Mike Moore and an airport firefighter team championed by Jessica Meldrum. Together, they raised over $3,500.  In addition, three of the 12 NFTA climbers took home awards as follows: Jessica Meldrum, 3rd place female firefighter ages 30-39; Jack Murphy, 1st place male ages 60-60; and Bruce Izard, 3rd place male ages 50-59.  Rachel Maloney-Joyner was the top fundraiser for the team and, in addition to climbing, Carolyn Concannon helped represent the group throughout the day with her fabulous photography. 

This collaborative effort truly deserves a high-five for everyone involved.   And, rumor has it the team is already "geared" up for next year.  Anyone is welcome to join, and you've got a whole year to practice! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Officer David Zarbo Receives Hope Giver Award

Exec. Dir., Marlies Wesolowski
presents award to Officer Zarbo
NFTA Transit Police officer David Zarbo was presented with the prestigious Hope Giver Award at the Matt Urban Hearts for Hope dinner on February 11. This annual event was held at the Buffalo Iron Works and recognized three compassionate individuals who have significantly contributed to serving those in need in our community within the past year.

While serving the riding public, our transit police officers are consistently coming in contact with individuals living in a state of homelessness. Although it is not possible to eliminate these conditions entirely, Officer Zarbo has spearheaded numerous initiatives to help provide resources to those in need and has positively affected many lives.

"This is an amazing honor.  I am grateful for the support of Chief George Gast, my fellow officers, and the staff at the Matt Urban Hope Center.  It is because of this great collaboration that we continue to make great strides in helping those living in poverty and assisting our community as a whole," said Officer Zarbo.

Evans Bancorp Purchases Naming Rights to Metro Rail Station

We have exciting news! Evans Bank has entered into an agreement with the NFTA for the purchase of the naming rights for Metro's Lafayette Square Rail station. Located steps away from the bank’s new Business & Relationship Center at Main & Court streets, the “Evans Bank @ Lafayette Square Station” will help promote the bank’s presence in downtown Buffalo.   
“At Evans, we believe strongly in public/private partnerships and this one is truly a win-win,” said David J. Nasca, Evans Bank President & CEO. “This agreement reinforces our downtown presence and allows the public to enjoy an updated and refreshed station in a highly trafficked downtown corridor.”

Under the agreement, both the inbound and outbound stops will display the Evans logo prominently atop the stations and ticket machines will be refreshed in Evans orange. Additional branding will appear on station shelter signs and maps, internal digital and audio message boards, online and digital schedules and in three rail cars.

"The new naming rights agreement is yet another example of Evans Bank’s commitment to the Western New York Community,” said Sister Denise Roche, Chairperson, NFTA Board of Commissioners. “We are excited and appreciative because this will provide us with a creative source of revenue and help us continue to maximize public transportation and better connect our community.”
The initial term of the agreement is for five years with an option to renew for an additional five-year term.  

Friday, March 1, 2019

Welcome Connie Miller

Connie Miller has joined the accounting department at the  NFTA.   Her previous experience includes working for Delaware North - Hamburg Gaming, and prior to that she spent 26 years in various accounting roles in the cable industry.

She reside in Buffalo with her husband Robert of 32 years and their son Christopher. She is also a proud grandmother of a 4-1/2 year old granddaughter who lives in Endicott with her son Ryan and his wife Stephanie.

In her spare time she enjoys "checking in" on the Royal families, and she calls it a little bit of an obsession.  Connie indicated her interest in the families started when she was young, and she began sending correspondence. Since then she has actually received response cards from Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, Harry and Meghan, and Queen Elizabeth. So cool!  

Please help in welcoming Connie to the NFTA team!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

NFTA Metro Wins First-Place AdWheel Awards

Members of NFTA's Public Affairs team (L-R),
Corey Hacker, Michael Martineck, Max Thayer,Caitlin Behm,
PA Dir., Helen Tederous, Lisa Piecki and Chris Muya
The Oscars are over, but the award season isn't and especially for those in the public transit industry.  The American Public Transportation Association held its 2019 AdWheel Awards ceremony on February 26 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans where they presented awards for the most creative, innovative and impactful marketing campaigns by U.S. transit agencies this past year.

NFTA Metro was a proud recipient of three first-place awards for their campaigns as follows: Workforce Wednesday, a social media recruitment campaign highlighting Metro employees; What Metro Eats, a community campaign that showcased public transit benefits at one of Buffalo's premium summer festivals, the Taste of Buffalo; and a 50th Anniversary Givin' and Groovin' community campaign modeled after 1967's summer of love and encompassing a charitable food drive.

This is the first time in a few years that NFTA Metro has entered the competition, and it was exciting to be honored with three prestigous awards.  Congratulations to everyone involved in the planning and execution of these initiatives, it was an extraordinary team effort!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

NFTA Holds Rail Expansion Scoping Meeting

The NFTA held a public meeting at Sweet Home Middle School on February 13 as part of the scoping process for the Metro Rail Expansion Project, which aims to provide a fast, safe and convenient transit system to the rail expansion corridor.   

Asking for public feedback is an important part of this process, and it was great to see the outpouring of attendees at the meeting.  

If you were not able to attend, you can still provide comments using the project website, by email at, or by mail at 181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203.  All comments, received by March 10, will be summarized in the project scoping document which will be posted on the website in the near future.  We appreciate your input! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Stay Safe on Ice - Walk Like a Penguin!

Metro's James Morrell supports Mike & Kara
in Walk Like a Penguin initiative! 
During the aftermath of Buffalo's recent snow storm that delivered heavy snow and biting temperatures dipping as low as -20 degrees, Kara Jeziorski of the NFTA's safety division, with the help of Mike Moore (aka friendly penguin mascot), were in the lobby of NFTA headquarters reminding employees to navigate the icy roads and slippery conditions by "walking like a penguin." 

You may ask how exactly does one walk like a penguin?  Well, it's easy - point your feet out and bend forward slightly with your arms loosely extended and move SLOWLY.  All of these elements help support your center of gravity and keep your body steady when walking along ice-covered and slushy areas.  However, it doesn't stop there, remember to wear boots or shoes with traction and take special care when entering and exiting vehicles.  

And, most importantly if you do not need to go out in blizzard-like conditions, stay inside where it's warm and comfortable until conditions improve! 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Mobile ticketing is coming to Metro in April

Beginning in April 2019, Metro customers will be able to pay their fares quickly and easily using a smart phone application called Token Transit

Through the phone app, our customers will be able to purchase single rides, round trip rail passes, and day passes using their credit or debit cards. Prior to boarding, customers will activate their ticket, and then simply show the mobile ticket to the bus driver or ticket inspector.  

All traditional payment options will still be available, but this is an exciting new way to make taking Metro bus and rail easier for existing customers and to encourage more people to try transit.  

Please stay tuned for more details to come.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

TAPD Officers and K9 teams are Superbowl Bound!

Superbowl LIII is only a few weeks away, and the city of Atlanta is gearing up.  Like prior cities hosting the big event, it has teamed up with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to help keep everyone safe.   

In this massive safety effort, a variety of law enforcement teams across the country have been carefully chosen to join the Superbowl security detail.  Officer Mike Bogulski and K9 Lyka, and Officer Christie Clifford and K9 Harvey, from the Niagara Frontier Transit Police were among the lucky teams to be selected.  

In talking with Officers Boguski and Clifford, you can feel the excitement in the air.  "This is a huge national event and to be a part of it at the ground level is so amazing.  Both Lyka and Harvey are trained explosive detection dogs.  Our primary responsibilities will be to 'sniff' out potential threats, conduct vehicle searches and provide overall security checks," said Officer Bogulski.  "Although I'd love to watch the New England Patriots lose, we will essentially be working 24-7 and our focus will be on keeping the city and everyone within it - safe." 

Congratulations to this dynamic foursome for being selected for this great honor; it illustrates the level of experience and excellence of this law enforcement team.  Now, go Rams! 


Friday, January 11, 2019

Three is Key for Metro Operator Shirley Garwol

Shirley Garwol is the newest representative of the NFTA-HSEQ's Pit Crew Campaign where she features the importance of 3-points of contact for Metro passenger safety.  Simply put, "3-points" means always having one foot and two hands (or one hand and two feet) in contact while riding Metro vehicles. This campaign also highlights the importance of accessing handrails when using stairs, taking it slow, wearing slip resistant footwear when possible, and looking ahead for slippery surfaces.

Shirley is a dedicated operator of 26 years with an excellent safety record at Metro's Cold Spring station.  Prior to becoming an operator, Shirley held temporary roles as receptionist at the downtown bus terminal and toll booth clerk at the boat harbor, previously owned by the NFTA, bringing her time of service technically to 29 years.

Shirley says she loves working for Metro and enjoys serving the local riding community.  Each day offers opportunities to see riders she knows, meet new people and help them all get where they need to go.

Way to go Shirley, thanks for showing us how to stay safe while riding Metro bus and rail.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

NFTA Metro donates bus to Alfred State College

John Dembik, center, with students 
The NFTA has recently donated a Metro bus to Alfred State College to help students take their heavy equipment: truck and diesel technician program to the next level of learning.  
The bus is a 30-foot-long 2004 Gillig model that includes a diesel-powered engine with Tier 4 emissions, and multiplex communication between the vehicle and computer systems. The bus is also equipped with a Voith Automatic Transmission, which is considered the “Cadillac” of bus transmissions, according to Automotive Trades Department Chair Eric Wilmot.
NFTA's John Dembik, who is a member of Alfred State’s heavy equipment: truck and diesel program’s advisory board, had been looking to make the donation happen for the past three years, and is very pleased to see it come to fruition.

“Providing an operable hands-on training aid to Alfred State College’s heavy equipment truck and diesel technician program allows the students to get familiar with a transit bus and the operation/diagnostics of their subsystems.  The donation, will provide years of education to Alfred State’s students, and help remove some apprehension about working on a bus, whether it be a 30-foot, 40-foot, or 60-foot articulated transit bus," said John Dembik.
With the support of the NFTA and having a (physical) bus as part of their program, students at Alfred State will have the ability to further enhance their applied learning experiences and ultimately have more robust job opportunities early on in their careers. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

TAPD Officers graduate from Erie County Police Academy

We are happy to announce that there are four new NFTA Transit Police Officers. All of whom graduated from the Erie County Law Enforcement Academy on December 21 after undergoing an intense five-month training program.   

The new officers are pictured from the left as follows:  Kyle Allen, former Virginia State Trooper; Lauren Gawlak, daughter of TAPD Officer Robert Gawlak; Ken Bigham, former NYS Corrections officer and brother of TAPD Officer Dina Bigham; and Collin Griffiths, former investigator with Chesterfield, Virginia, Police.

The Erie County police training curriculum complies with New York State requirements as mandated by the Municipal Police Training Council and goes above and beyond basic training.  The program emphasizes ethics, excellence, professionalism and current best practices in the law enforcement field which supports the overall mission of training officers to help enhance public safety in our community.

These new officers have started their 10-week Field Training Officer Program (FTO) with a senior officer of the TAPD.  After completing FTO, they will then be assigned to a division for regular patrol.

Congratulations to all! 

Tom George Appointed President of ABBG

Tom George, NFTA-Metro's Director of Public Transit, has been appointed President of the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG).  The ABBG is a consortium of 23 mid-sized bus agencies in North America that was established in 2011 to benchmark performance and share experiences and best practices.  

Tom, a licensed NYS professional engineer, brings to this role over thirty years working in transportation, consulting on both the international and regional levels. Tom’s experience in design, construction and management includes public transportation and intelligent transportation systems, as well as highway, facility and traffic systems.  In his current role with the NFTA, he provides overall direction for Metro bus and rail including public transportation administration and financial planning. 

ABBG 2018 Annual Meeting - San Bernardino, CA

He also serves as the Vice President of the New York State Public Transit Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps. Tom is an active member of the American Public Transit Association, Benchmarking Group of North American Light Rail Systems, Transportation Research Board, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

As part of the plans for 2019, Tom and his Metro team are looking forward to hosting the annual ABBG meeting in Buffalo later this year. 

Congratulations Tom!  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Officer Gould and Sabre Score Big at ASIS Awards

TAPD Chief George Gast, Officer Robert Gould and
NFTA's Executive Director Kim Minkel 
Transit Police officer Robert Gould and his K-9 Sabre were recognized for their dedication and excellence in law enforcement from the WNY Chapter of ASIS International.  The award was recently presented at the Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon at Salvatore’s Italian Garden’s Restaurant.

“I’m incredibly proud of Officer Gould and Sabre,” said TAPD Chief George Gast, “It is so important to acknowledge the tremendous work of our officers, they truly make a positive difference in our community.  We are grateful to ASIS for taking the time to honor the many law enforcement professionals in Western New York who work every day to protect our community.”  
Sabre taking a break from the action 

Officer Gould and Sabre were among an elite group of officers from Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties as well as to Federal and State Law Enforcement agencies.  The awards were given to officers who perform “above and beyond” the call. 

ASIS WNY is a non-profit organization, committed to this pursuit of recognition and public appreciation for the Law Enforcement community.  ASIS International is the leading organization for security professionals worldwide.  Founded in 1955, ASIS is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and
productivity of security professionals by developing
educational programs and materials.