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Transportation to suburban jobs remains a challenge for some city residents

You know the routine: you get in your car and drive to work somewhere outside of Buffalo where you work hard and get paid well and think about impending retirement, when the boss will have to find a replacement. This replacement may not be easy to find.

Anyone involved in economic development is aware of the range of these upcoming job openings in the suburbs and the problem some replacement workers will have getting there.

“Transportation is a huge issue in this community for people who don’t own a car and it’s almost impossible to get around this community without a car unless you have three hours to go somewhere,” said Dottie Gallagher, President and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Partnership. . “If you live in town and want to get out of Walden Avenue or Clarence, that’s half a day’s work.”

At a recent busy job fair at the Delavan Grider Community Center, Angel Burgos was checking out available jobs, knowing he already had a car. An electronics student at the Northland Workforce Training Center, Burgos said you have to work there if you want good jobs.

“It’s hard to find a job,” he said. “It may be difficult to get there, but if you want to have money in your pocket, you want to be somebody, you have to take those risks. You know what I mean?”

Welding trainee Noel Davis said there were always well-paying jobs for welders and a car helped him find a job.

“If you go out later in the day, like me — I go out at 4:30 p.m. — it’s a little difficult for me to find a job that will work with me,” Davis said. “If I go out at 4:30 p.m. it’s like I don’t have a personal vehicle, it might take me 30-45 minutes to get to work, which means now I don’t get to work until around 5-5:15 a.m. and most jobs really want their shifts to start around 5:15 a.m..”

Tejh is looking for a career start. She admits it will probably be in Buffalo, as she doesn’t have a car, while being offered jobs in the suburbs.

Michel Mroziak

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WBFO News

Buffalo’s Northland Labor Training Center trains city workers, but they may not find jobs if they don’t have transportation to get to work.

Buffalo Employment and Training Center executive director Demone Smith said it was part of the grassroots shift in job hunting for city residents he was seeing.

“Well, I’ll just get a job at Dollar General around the corner,” Smith said. “There are a number of jobs in the suburbs and so in those jobs it has been difficult to get people there.”

Smith said the training center is working with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to create special bus routes to suburban employment areas.

“Then after about a month, everyone bought a used car from them and they don’t take the bus anymore. So now you have an empty bus that goes to these places that they have specially designed. So that’s kind of the Catch 22,” he said.

The NFTA may add, subtract, expand or change service routes, such as recent commuter service cuts or changes through Lackawanna. Transit Director Thomas George said switching services is never easy.

“I wouldn’t just say it’s complicated,” George said. “Obviously it’s hard because of resources and you want to make sure that when you’re going to add or extend a route, you’re really doing it with the best possible benefit, so that you really get the We talk to employers all the time who think they’re going to get goodwill.”

George said there are standard conversation starters.

“Okay, great. But can you change your departure time? Can you change your departure? Can you move people who need buses to another shift? Can you do the things that “Will they align better with what we already have or what we can do? And we see a lot of employers who are willing to do that. Others? Not so much,” he said.

Gallagher said there’s a lesson to be learned from what happened to Amherst’s booming office park, which began with GEICO and a subway line.

“And one of the reasons they agreed to come to Buffalo was a caveat, that there would be a direct bus from their town to Amherst, which they got and NFTA was able to do,” she said. “Well, they got jobs there and they’re great jobs there and GEICO pays really well. And guess what people started doing: they started buying cars. So they don’t don’t take the bus. So they’re like, well, we can’t afford to keep the bus. It’s a terrible conundrum.

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