Boycott Organizers against Metro Bus/Rail Claim Success
By Eileen Buckley
Buffalo, NY – Organizers of Wednesday's public transportation boycott are calling it a success. Citizen activists urged the African American community not to ride Metro Bus and Rail. It was in response to an alleged case of police brutality by transit officers against a passenger and bus driver.
But many people were unable to support it. At the University Metro Rail station, passengers we spoke with say they knew about the boycott but could not honor it.
"I don't know what else they could have done, I support it, but I still have to get to work," said one.
"I can't join in for the simple fact that I need the bus to get around and to handle business. Right now my car is out of service and I have no other way of getting around," said another.
The boycott was promoted by an incident this past October. Bus driver Elizabeth Taylor Oliver says she witnessed transit police using excessive force on a 15-year old girl. Oliver claims when she tried to step in, police arrested her. Then she was suspended from her job.
The boycott was organized by community activist Samuel Herbert. Ironically, four people driving with Herbert were forced to jump on a Metro bus Wednesday morning when his car died in traffic.
"My alternator broke on my car. And I had to let the individuals out because the bus was behind us," Herbert explained. "So I said go ahead and take the bus, because you have to get to where you are headed. Just know your intentions were good and you supported boycott. Don't feel bad about it."
But despite the rough start, Herbert says he still feels the boycott was a success because so many citizens knew about it. Herbert says their efforts should put pressure on the NFTA to meet with the African American community.