Bus riders

Metro Bus riders tonight complained about decreasing services and vented their frustration over talk of a possible fare increase to cover rising costs and cuts in government subsidies to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

NFTA Commissioner James J. Eagan assured about 45 residents who attended a question-and-answer forum in the Delavan-Grider Community Center that there are no formal plans to increase fares, but stressed the authority faces enormous fiscal challenges.

"We're facing a $15 million deficit. The NFTA is not a for-profit organization. The [Erie] County Legislature [was] kind enough ... to subsidize us with part of the mortgage tax and part of the sales tax. That helps us tremendously," Eagan said.

All 12 members of the NFTA board were invited to the meeting, organized by County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, D-Buffalo. Eagan was the only one who attended.

" We don't know if there is going to be a fare hike. We don't know if it's going to be a quarter or 50 cents. It's certainly not going to be $1," Eagan said.

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