News Room

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is seeking public comment June 25 and 26 on proposals to adjust Metro bus service on Route 27 Wende and Route 57 Tonawandas. The hearings will focus on replacing existing Route 57 Tonawandas with fixed route flex pilot service to improve performance levels and discontinue Route 27 Wende as a result of historically low ridership. This process allows Metro to continually evaluate its service delivery in an effort to provide the most efficient public transit network possible. The public hearings are scheduled as follows:
Wednesday, June 25 at 6 p.m.
Cheektowaga Central High School Cafeteria
3600 Union Rd., Cheektowaga, NY

Thursday, June 26 at 5 p.m.
North Tonawanda City Hall Council Chambers
216 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda, NY

Comments or emails received no later than Thursday, June 26 will also be considered. Comments should be sent to NFTA, 181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, Attn: Service Planning Department or emailed to planning@nfta.com.

Buffalo, NY . . . As gas prices approach $4 a gallon and with environmental concerns on people's mind, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that Metro is joining with other public transportation systems nationwide in promoting the Ninth Annual Dump the Pump Day, Thursday, June 19.

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, Dump the Pump Day is a call to action to encourage people to ride public transportation, thus reducing the consumption of gasoline and reducing their carbon footprint.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "Metro bus and rail play a vital role in helping to reduce harmful emissions by reducing the number of cars on our highways and lessening the cost of transportation for thousands of people in our community each day. People can help make a difference by riding Metro and encouraging their friends and family to do so as well."

To encourage people to leave the cars keys on the table Thursday, Metro personnel with assistance from Citizens for Regional Transit and the Sierra Club Niagara offered morning Metro commuters a free USA Today newspaper, and a Metro Extra's Card redeemable for discounts at over 20 local establishments, in additional to various pieces of Metro rider information will be available throughout the day.

Each weekday Metro bus and rail provides 110,000 boardings, which help people arrive safely at school, work and medical appointments or to just visit family. The past 12-months there have been 26 million boardings on Metro buses and trains. With the build out of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the new Harbor Center at Canalside, the construction of the new UB Medical School being built atop Metro's Allen Medical station and people opting to live downtown, Metro will play an even larger role in the development of our city going forward.

Muhammed Sam Sumbundu, a Student Council Representative at Buffalo State College who enjoys using Metro to get to and from school said, "I take Metro because it's convenient and it gets me to school and work a lot quicker than when I drive. Plus, I love having the opportunity to interact with the great people of our city."

People are coming onboard and finding favor with Metro services each and every day. Bonita R. Durand, NFTA Commissioner and Chairwoman of the NFTA's Public Transit Committee said, "If we are going to make a lasting impact on reducing our dependency on foreign oil, then we all must commit well past today to get out of our cars and use alternative methods of travel in a sustainable way going forward."

Lynn Magdol, a loyal Metro customer from Buffalo said, "I don't have to search for parking or use my gas. The bus leaves me near the library, the bank or a place for lunch and shopping."

Pauline Bentkowski, from Angola buys her monthly pass through the Metro Perk program from her employer. She takes Route 76 to work each day and says, "My Metro pass saves me over $3,000 annually in fuel and parking, not to mention reducing wear and tear on my car."

Metro has 18 Park & Rides, allowing riders to park free and ride all day. Full-service transportation centers in both downtown Buffalo and Niagara County mean easy transfers. Metro also offers 16 express routes, which make fewer stops, resulting in quicker trips. Used as a system, Metro stretches across Erie and Niagara Counties.

Buffalo resident Debbie Bowers, a Paratransit customer commented, "PAL provides me with an opportunity to get around. Because of PAL, I don't have to walk in the snow, which helps prevent me from a possible injury."

Public transportation reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions without reducing the mobility so vital to our nation's economic health and our citizens' quality of life. The increasing cost of fuel makes driving private vehicles even more prohibitive for many. According to APTA's Transit Saving Report, a two-person household can save, on the average, more than $10,174 a year by downsizing to one car.

By reducing the growth in vehicles miles of travel and supporting more efficient land use patterns, public transportation can reduce harmful CO2 emissions by 37 million tons annually. One person with a 20-mile round trip commute who switches from driving to public transit can reduce their daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds or more than 4,800 pounds in a year.

As part of the NFTA's Go Green initiative, 98 hybrid electric buses are currently carrying passengers throughout Buffalo Niagara. The two-mode hybrid system produces 90 percent less hydrocarbon, 90 percent less carbon monoxide emissions, 50 percent less nitrogen oxides than conventional diesel buses, and lowers particulate emissions (tiny pieces of soot and dust) by up to 90 percent.

Metro's hybrids are achieving 5.5 miles per gallon, compared to 2.9 miles per gallon for buses they are replacing, a 90 percent savings and a 30 percent improvement when compared to the fleet's average.

Commissioner Durand added, "Metro was always clearly a bargain, but as the price of gas increases with each passing day, it's becoming even more clearly the wise economic choice. People don't have to pay $3.85 plus for one gallon of gas when they can buy a Day Pass for $5 and ride Metro bus and rail all over Erie and Niagara Counties all day long and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time."

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that, it is extending its Metro CRAM Pass program into the summer this year to accommodate current college participants through a new pilot program.

Students enrolled in summer classes at Buffalo State and Canisius College are now eligible to purchase a summer Metro pass, which provides unlimited access June 1 through Aug. 22, 2014.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "We are pleased to extend our college program to assist the many students who depend on Metro during the summer for their transportation."

The $60 summer CRAM pass is now available from administrative offices at participating colleges. Students can use their summer CRAM pass to commute to school, work or anywhere else Metro services without having to pay additional fees. Valid college photo college ID is required for use with the summer pass.

All Metro maps and schedules can be found online at nfta.com/metro.

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is inviting residents from local communities to attend the first public meeting to review details of the Niagara Falls International Airport Sustainable Master Plan, Wednesday, June 4.

The workshop will be held in the Niagara Falls International Airport, 2035 Niagara Falls Blvd., on the lower level from 6-8 p.m. Free parking will be available in the general passenger lots for those attending the meeting. Refreshments will be served.

William R. Vanecek, NFTA Director of Aviation said, "We welcome the opportunity to work with the Niagara community to help craft a Master Plan that ensures the airport will increase its positive economic impact for the region, while simultaneously creating a positive experience for all users of the facility.

McFarland Johnson, the NFIA Master Plan consultants, along with representatives from the NFTA will be present to host the interactive workshop and discuss the draft findings to date.

This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for interested citizens from neighboring communities to learn about and contribute feedback regarding potential future development at the airport. Materials for the 20-year planning horizon will include an overview of existing facilities, forecasts of aviation activity, facility requirements and environmental findings.

This will be the first of two public meetings associated with this project. A second meeting will occur in the fall of this year.

For additional information contact Mark Clark, NFTA Sr. Aviation Planner at 630-6133 or via email at mark_clark@nfta.com.

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that they are one of six rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation to earn the Transportation Security Administration's highest rating of "Gold Standard" on their 2013 Baseline Assessments for security enhancement for their dedication to building a strong security program.

The BASE program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. This voluntary comprehensive review of transit agency security programs focuses on multiple categories identified by the transit community as fundamentals for a sound transit security program. They include a review of topics such as an agency's security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs. The BASE program analyzes the security program for each transit system and identifies opportunities to further enhance security.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "I am extremely proud of our dedicated team who work each day to ensure our Metro transit system and facilities are safe and secure for our customers and employees. This honor recognizes and validates the extent of their collective efforts."

These agencies are to be commended for their commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires and for their continued dedication to ensure the security of travelers nationwide," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole.

These agencies were reviewed in 2013 and attained high scores across all categories. TSA considered this caliber of performance as reaching a "Gold Standard" and recognized them for having strong security programs. The TSA continues to work with all transit agencies across the country to develop and implement robust security practices system-wide.

In addition to the NFTA, the other five agencies recognized for achieving the Gold Standard in 2013 are: Sound Transit (Seattle, WA), Hampton Roads Transit (Hampton, VA), South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail (Pompano, FL), Valley Metro (Phoenix, AZ) and Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, NY).

In addition to these six agencies, there have been 37 others that have previously earned the Gold Standard Award level of security since 2010.

The BASE program was developed to increase domain awareness, enhance prevention and protection capabilities and further response preparedness of transit systems nationwide. BASE is aimed at meeting the requirements in the 9/11 Commission Act's security assessment section, which directs TSA to identify critical assets, infrastructure and systems and their vulnerabilities and assist bus and public transportation authorities to address their security programs.

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that Metro will once again provide complementary trolley service to guests staying at participating Niagara Falls motels and hotels beginning Friday, May 16. Route 55T trolley buses will serve Niagara Falls Boulevard, Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls International Airport and downtown Niagara Falls, USA.

Service will operate Friday-Sunday, May 16 - 31 and Monday through Sunday, June 1 - Oct. 31. The service will operate from 9 a.m. until midnight and on all holidays.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director, said, "We are pleased to once again be collaborating with Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and the Niagara Falls Hotel Association to offer transportation passes to people visiting the Cataract City. The trolleys will easily connect people to the many wonderful attractions the city has to offer."

Patrons will receive their trolley day passes that are affixed with a sequential tracking number, upon request at participating hotels and motels. The trolley pass, supported by the local bed tax, allows pass holders free access to the trolley service, and the entire Metro Bus and Rail system in Niagara and Erie counties. Passes must be validated in Niagara County and may be used anytime on the date the trolley pass is punched by the Metro operator.

Individuals without a trolley day pass may ride the service by paying Metro's regular adult fare of $2, $1 for children (5-11 yrs.), seniors (65 yrs. and over), disabled and Medicare clients with valid I.D. All other Metro passes are also valid. Children four and under ride free, limit three children per fare paying adult.

Special Route 55T trolley stop signs along the route indicate where riders can board a trolley. In downtown Niagara Falls, Route 55T trolley stops are located at The Aquarium of Niagara, Rainbow Blvd., The Seneca Niagara Casino at 4th Street between Wendel Way and Duggan Street Main entrance. Service will also be provided to hotels and shops along 3rd Street, Rainbow Blvd. and Buffalo Street.

In addition, stops are located at the City Market on Pine Avenue and 17th Street, the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, several motels along Niagara Falls Boulevard and the Como Restaurant in Little Italy on Pine Avenue and 22nd Street.

All Metro route maps and schedules can be found online at nfta.com/metro, including trolley maps and schedules.

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that John T. Cox has been appointed to the position of Chief Financial Officer for the authority.

As CFO he will report to the NFTA's board of commissioners with functional responsibility to the executive director and become a member of the director's management team. His duties will include formulating the strategic financial plan of the authority and act as an advisor on all financial matters pertaining to developing innovative cost containment measures and revenue enhancements for all of the business centers within the authority.

Cox, 43, was Deputy Director of Finance I Accounting, for the City of Rochester, NY, for the past two years. His duties included supervising and participating in the preparation of various financial statements and reports, the city's annual update document and annual general purpose financial statements, in addition to the comprehensive annual financial report for the city.

Prior employment included Comptroller/Director of Finance, City of Binghamton, NY, from 2007-2012, where he oversaw the cash management and investment strategies of the city and collaborated with the mayor and department heads to formulate the city's annual budget.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Syracuse University in 1992 and a master's degree in accounting from Binghamton University in 2003.

Above Ground Section Will Not be Operating

Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6, the above ground portion of the Metro Rail system will be closed due to construction related to the City of Buffalo's project to return cars to Main Street.

During this period, Metro will operate circulator bus service from Allen Medical Campus station to the Erie Canal Harbor station for customers traveling along this section of Main Street. Two shuttles will operate in each direction approximately every 15 minutes.

Inbound, buses will travel between Allen Medical Campus and Erie Canal Harbor stations by way of Pearl Street. All inbound customers will be picked up or let off along Pearl Street, a block west of the inbound stations.

Outbound, circulators will operate from Erie Canal Harbor station to Allen Medical Campus station by way of Washington Street. All outbound customers will be picked up or let off along Washington Street, one block east of the outbound stations.

A Saturday/Sunday schedule will apply for the underground train service that will operate during this period, though there may be delays in service.

Exception . . .Saturday, April 5, starting at 5:30 p.m. the entire line will reopen and Metro Rail will resume single tracking service. Passengers will not be required to change trains at Church Station, as has been the procedure since March 30. The full length will remain open for the remainder of the evening.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that its board of commissioners has approved a new four year collective bargaining agreement between the NFTA and the International Longshoremen's Association Local 2028 for the period April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2018.

Local 2028, the NFTA's fourth largest union represents 55 employees who perform functions in the authority's engineering, accounting, payroll, public affairs, MIS, grants and government affairs departments.

Under the terms of the agreement, members of the bargaining unit will received a 2 percent increase in base salary for each of the four years covered in the agreement. The new pact will allow members who have exhausted all sick, vacation and personal leave to request establishment of a sick bank in their name for use in a verified illness or extended emergency situation. In addition, members will participate in the authority's new High Deductible Health Plan.

As work related to the City of Buffalo's project to return vehicles to Main Street continues, Metro Rail will begin modified service Saturday, March 29, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announces today.

Saturday, March 29, demolition work will commence to remove the steel arches that span the track bed at Fountain Plaza station. This will require Metro Rail to delay providing service on the above ground section until 1 p.m. During this time Metro will operate circulator bus service from Allen Medical Campus station to Erie Canal Harbor station for customers traveling along this section of Main Street.

Inbound, a bus will travel between Allen Medical Campus and Erie Canal Harbor stations by way of Pearl Street. All inbound customers will be picked up or let off along pearl Street, a block west of the inbound stations.

Outbound, the circulator will operate from Erie Canal Harbor station to Allen Medical Campus station by way of Washington Street. All outbound customers will be picked up or let off along Washington Street, one block east of the outbound stations.

A Saturday schedule will apply for the underground train service that will operate during this period, though there may be delays in service.

Sunday, March 30, Metro Rail will begin modified, single track service for approximately six months. While the street is under construction, so as to prevent future disruptions in service, crews will work simultaneously to replace 30-year old rail, track foundation and associated subsystems in the 500 Block, with new track and pre-fabricated concrete panels.

During this period passengers will be required to transfer from one train to another at the Church Street station in order to continue their trip on the train. Rail service will operate using a 20 minute schedule, which will be available online at nfta.com and at rail stations.

Metro Rail customers with disabilities, especially those using a mobility device, will be required to follow special boarding procedures that will be in place during this time. Instructions will be communicated through Instant Update messages, Metro's Advisory Committee for the Disabled, Citizens Advisory Committee, advocacy agencies, a special Metro Rail construction schedule, at nfta.com and notices posted at the operating rail stations. In addition, customers can call Customer Care at 855-7211 for additional information.

Metro's $1.1 million track bed improvement project is being performed by Mark Cerrone, Inc., Niagara Falls, NY.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that starting Tuesday, Feb. 18, construction will begin to replace the overhead catenary cable and insulation in the Metro Rail tunnel between Allen Medical Station and Humboldt Hospital Station.

As a result, Metro Rail will operate single track service from the 18th, through Saturday, March 15. Regular rail service is expected to commence with the start of service Sunday, March 16.

During this time all passengers will board the train at the same platform from Allen Medical Station to Humboldt Hospital Station, regardless of whether traveling inbound or outbound.

Customers are advised to follow the way finding signs in the stations and to check the directional sign on the front and side of the railcars to confirm the direction the train is traveling. University indicates outbound and Erie Canal Harbor indicates inbound travel. In addition, there will be announcements at platform level, indicating the direction the train is traveling. Delays of between six to 15 minutes can be expected from the normal schedule.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that its Metro Bus division is sponsoring an Open House Thursday, Jan. 30, in an effort to recruit individuals interested in full-time employment as a MetroLink bus operator.

Metro is currently looking for qualified bus operators seeking steady employment, guaranteed wage increases, along with a comprehensive benefit package.

Candidates must be 21 years of age, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, a NYS commercial driver's license, Class B minimum with passenger and air break endorsements or a permit for same with the ability to obtain a full license within eight weeks of employment.

The Open House will take place from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Metro's Frontier Station, 1000 Military Road, Buffalo.

Interested individuals may download an application at nfta.com or during the Open House.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Transit Police arrested a female at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport this morning and charged her with possession of a Forged Instrument in the second degree.

Lilibeth Lahitte, 24, of Tampa, Fla. was found to have over $30,000 in gift cards, two stolen credit cards, various pieces of expensive jewelry and bottles of top shelf liquor in her checked suitcase.

As the suitcase was being screened prior to it being placed on the plane it triggered an alarm, which resulted in the suitcase being hand screened by TSA personnel, who then contacted NFTA police.

The suspect was located and detained by NFTA officers at a Southwest gate as she waited for a flight to Tampa and further investigation lead to her arrest on two felony charges. She was taken into custody and transported to Cheektowaga Town Court where she will be arraigned Friday, Jan. 24.

The U.S. Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration are assisting in the investigation.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that its board of commissioners has approved a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement between the NFTA and the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1949 for the period of April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2018.

The Longshoremen's Local 1949 represents 130 employees who are responsible for service and maintenance at the Buffalo Niagara and Niagara Falls International Airports, port operations, the Metropolitan and Niagara Falls Transportation Centers, Operations Control Center and NFTA Police Headquarters.

Under the terms of the seven-year agreement, members of the bargaining unit will receive no increase in year one, and increases of 2 percent retroactive to April 1, 2012, in years two through seven, with the exception of FY 4.1.14/3.31.15, when salaries will increase 2.25 percent.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director commented, "I am pleased we were able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with this collective bargaining unit to provide annual wage increases to the dedicated members of this union through fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has announced the following storm related modifications to Metro bus and rail service:

Metro Rail will continue to operate throughout the day and evening.

Metro routes #14, 15, 16, 36, 42, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, have suspended service for the remainder of today.

Metro routes #1, 2, 4, 6, 22, 26, 32 will only operate to the city line as of now.

Metro routes #1, 2, 4, 6, 19, 32 will discontinue service as of 5 p.m.

Metro routes #22 & 26 will continue operating to the city line past 5 p.m.

All routes not listed will continue providing service throughout the day, but probably will be running late due to the storm.

All Metro employees are asked to report to their respective locations as scheduled.

Metro is planning to provide as much service as possible Wednesday, Jan. 8, based on the weather conditions. Please check online at nfta.com/metro for the latest Rider Alerts.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that Metro Rail will extend service an additional two hours Tuesday, Dec. 31, to accommodate passengers attending the Annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop at Roosevelt Square and the downtown First Night Buffalo celebration.

Train service will run continuously, making stops at all stations during the extended service period. Trains will be on 20 minute intervals, with special trains intermingled as needed. It may be necessary to suspend service for a time due to the anticipated large crowd that gathers near the track bed in front of Roosevelt Square prior to the ball drop.

The last train is scheduled to leave Erie Canal Harbor Station heading outbound to University Station at 2 a.m., New Year's Day following the events.

All Metro bus and rail schedules are available at nfta.com/metro, in addition to an interactive service map and a trip planner. Also, Metro has Where's my bus? information available to assist passengers.

 

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that its board of commissioners has approved a new five-year collective bargaining agreement between the NFTA and Teamsters Local 264-Transportation Supervisors for the period April 2, 2012, through March 31, 2017.

Teamsters Local 264 represents transportation supervisors who are responsible for frontline supervision of Metro's bus and rail operations. Under the terms of the agreement, members of the bargaining unit will receive an equity adjustment Jan. 1, 2014, and a salary increase of 2 percent for each of the next three fiscal years starting April 1, 2014.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "I am pleased that we were able to reach an amicable agreement that provides both an equity adjustment and annual raises for the hard working members of this union, while protecting the financial stability of the authority going forward."

 

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced it has upgraded the Metro Bus and Rail website site to include a new interactive map and bus tracking information. The "Where's My Bus?" feature allows users to find out when the next bus is arriving using a smartphone, while at any stop, on any route.

"Where's My Bus?" is actually two Web-based programs using the same data, one designed for mobile devices - nfta.com will automatically detect a phone or pad - and one designed for computers with larger screens. The later gives users a map view of the area, showing where buses are along a given route. The former is streamlined for phones. "Where's My Bus?" on a mobile device gives users a minute-by-minute countdown to a bus's arrival.

"This technology is a big advantage to our riders," the NFTA's Director of Public Transit, Thomas George said. "Being able to know when your next bus is coming makes using Metro much easier. This is valuable information accessible where and when our customers need it most."

Metro's new system map depicts its entire service area, but allows users to view just the routes they chose. Users can see what buses or Metro Rail serve what parts of Erie and Niagara Counties, and help them plan commutes using Metro.

All of the new technology is available at nfta.com, in the Metro section.

 

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced it will host a meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17 to provide information regarding the Niagara Street Bus Priority and Corridor Design Project.

The $4.5 million public transit improvement project will create a "high-quality transit corridor" from City Hall at Niagara Square to the intersection of Niagara and Ontario streets.

This first public meeting will be held at the Holy Cross School, 150 Maryland St. from 6 to 8 p.m. with the agenda focusing specifically on the section of Niagara Street, from Niagara Square to Porter Avenue. The community is encouraged to attend.

The evening will provide an overview, open discussion regarding existing conditions and present draft recommendations for Metro bus shelters and stops in the area. A brief presentation is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Metro staff, and the consultant team from Bergmann Associates and Highland Planning, will be on hand seeking input from the public.

Metro's Director of Public Transit, Thomas George said, "The consultants have reviewed existing conditions on Niagara St., including bus stop ridership and the existing bus shelter locations. New shelter proposals may include amenities such as lighting, 'Next Bus' information signs, advertisements and perhaps wireless networking."

Using input from the meeting, the consultants will finalize bus shelter locations and design. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2014. The Niagara Street Bus Priority and Corridor Design Project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.

Questions regarding the project can be directed to:
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
Metro Surface Transportation Department
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
or
info@nfta.com or 716-855-7300.

 

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Santa will be visiting Amherst Sunday, Dec. 15, and he's going to use a Metro Bus to see just how well everyone is behaving this holiday season.

Santa and his helpers will ride Metro Route 34 from the Boulevard Mall (the Metro bus stop in front of TGIF's restaurant) to University Station and back. Santa will be handing out trinkets and candy canes along the way. His schedule is as follows:

10:32 a.m. from the Boulevard Mall to University Station
10:55 a.m. from University Station to Boulevard Mall
11:02 a.m. from the Boulevard Mall to University Station
11:25 a.m. from University Station to Boulevard Mall

 

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that The Sounds of the Season holiday performances will be returning to the downtown bus terminal (181 Ellicott St.) beginning Thursday, Dec. 5, compliments of musical ensembles from five local schools.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA's Executive Director said, ""With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season now upon us I hope the festive sounds of music and song being performed by the students will be enjoyed by all as they pass through the terminal."

The following schools will be participating on the date and time indicated:

December 5 2 p.m. Mt. Mercy Academy

December 10 11 a.m. Our Lady of Black Rock School

December 17 11:30 p.m. Visit from Santa

12 p.m. South Park High School - Group 1

12:45 p.m. South Park High School - Group 2

December 19 11 a.m. Randolph Academy

December 20 8:30 a.m. Akron High School - Roaming Santa Band will perform for 15 minutes

Each performance will feature between 15 and 45 students who will entertain for 30 to 40 minutes. The community is welcome to attend and enjoy this holiday tradition.

 

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A study of public transportation needs in the Amherst-Buffalo corridor commences with two workshops, open to the public, sponsored by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transit Council.

Transit Options Amherst-Buffalo is a study to assess and improve transit connections between Amherst and Buffalo. This corridor currently boasts Metro's highest transit ridership in the region, and demand is expected to grow. A number of significant development projects have already begun in the corridor, with more slated to begin soon. In response, Transit Options will look at a variety of advancements, from new bus service, rail extensions, bus rapid transit or something else all together.

"This study is different," Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "We are starting off with substantial public outreach. We want to hear ideas, directions and concerns from everyone with a stake in public transportation in this corridor. This is a great chance for the community to help define transit for the years to come."

The first public workshop will be held Tuesday, Nov. 19, 5 p.m. at St. Leo the Great School, 885 Sweet Home Road, Amherst. The school is near Metro Bus Route 35 and there is enhanced access at the east driveway side of the school.

The second will be Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5 p.m., Allen Hall, Room 100, University at Buffalo South Campus, 3435 Main Street, Buffalo. Enhanced access is available on the Main St. side of the building. Metro riders can use Routes 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 44, 47, 48, or Metro Rail.

There are presentations at 5:30 and 7 p.m., but participants are welcome anytime, for any duration. More information is available at to.nfta.com or by calling 855-7300.

 

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that its Metro Bus division is sponsoring an Open House Thursday, Nov. 14 in an effort to recruit individuals to fill available MetroLink operator positions.

Metro is currently looking for qualified bus operators seeking steady employment, guaranteed wage increases, along with a comprehensive benefit package.

Candidates must be 21 years of age, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, a NYS commercial driver's license, Class B minimum with passenger and air break endorsements or a permit for same with the ability to obtain a full license within eight weeks of employment.

The Open House will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Cold Spring bus maintenance office, 1581 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, NY.

Interested individuals may download an application at nfta.com or during the Open House.

 

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Man's best friend will be making the rounds at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport through Paws for Love, a program of the SPCA serving Erie County, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today.

As part of the local SPCA Paws for Love program, volunteers bring their evaluated and approved pets to visit patients and residents in local hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and now the concept has expanded visitation to include the BNIA.

The BNIA is believed to be one of seven airports in the U.S. to offer such a program to its passengers, joining the likes of San Jose, Ft. Lauderdale, San Antonio, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles and Miami. The BNIA presently has 22 dogs enrolled, making it the second largest program in the country behind LA's 30. Working dogs will be easily identifiable as they meander through the terminal wearing color SPCA PFL vests with their volunteer in tow.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "Traveling can create stress and anxieties for passengers. The PFL program is an opportunity for us to provide an overall enhanced customer experience at our airport by providing stress relief and comfort to passengers through this interaction with the k-9s."

Plans are to have two and four-legged volunteers working one-hour shifts, offering comfort to passengers both pre and post security and at baggage carousels. The dogs and their volunteers will also work in the airport's preview program, which involves airport preview visits by families with autistic or developmentally disabled children.

There is an extensive body of research regarding the overall health benefits to people when they own or come in contact with dogs and other animals. The goal of the BNIA's visitation program is to help with the anxieties of nervous passengers. According to veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, dog therapy programs at airports started in San Jose shortly after September 11, 2001, when flights were grounded and passengers were stranded, anxious and afraid.

People who are interested and want to learn more about volunteering for the SPCA PFL program should contact program coordinator Deborah Braun, at spcapawsforlove@aol.com or call 681-0744.

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The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that its Metro Bus division is sponsoring an Open House Saturday, Sept. 28 in an effort to recruit employees to fill open positions.

Metro currently has openings for qualified mechanics and technicians who are seeking steady employment that offers a competitive starting salary, a safe, clean working environment with a comprehensive benefit package.

The Open House will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Cold Spring bus maintenance office, 1581 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, NY.

A comprehensive skills test will be administered at noon for interested applicants. Interested individuals may download an application at nfta.com or pick one up at the open house.

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners met and approved the sale of its remaining land and property holdings on Buffalo's Outer Harbor to Gracious Living Corporation. A leading manufacturer and distributor of outdoor furniture and housewares based in Canada, Gracious Living will locate its first U.S. plant on the waterfront property, invest tens of millions of dollars in injection molding equipment and infrastructure, and create 250 new jobs in Western New York.

"Gracious Living Corporation will breathe new life into two abandoned waterfront structures and facilitate private sector investment and job growth in Western New York," Governor Cuomo said. "We are pleased to welcome the company to build their first U.S. plant to serve its growing U.S. market, as we continue to foster redevelopment on Buffalo's waterfront and revive New York's manufacturing industry. Just three weeks ago, we announced a new plan to dramatically transform Buffalo's waterfront to pave the way for new investments and business opportunities, and today's sale by the NFTA is another step forward in our goal to build a world-class waterfront for the community."

"The U.S. market is an important part of our growth plans and having a U.S. based facility demonstrates our commitment to serving and growing our U.S. customer base. We have found the state and local governments very helpful and supportive in building the case for locating our first U.S. plant in Buffalo which we appreciate and look forward to working with them going forward," said Gracious Living President Enzo Macri.

"The sale of this property is a very sound strategic decision that follows Governor Cuomo's visionary plan for Buffalo's waterfront," said NFTA Chairman Howard A. Zemsky. "It provides the NFTA with a global solution for exiting its waterfront property; at the same time helping to create job growth in the region and generate much needed revenue for the NFTA."

Gracious Living Corporation, of Toronto, Canada, will receive $2 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits from the State in return for the company's job creation commitments resulting from its investment.

Port Terminal buildings A and B on Buffalo's Outer Harbor have much deferred maintenance, and the NFTA has been anxious to put these two buildings to use as a job-creating project and pass on the cost of maintaining them. Gracious Living is proposing to pay cash for these buildings to set up a plastic injection molding plant and warehouse at the site.

The approximately 49.5 acres of real property located at 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard in Buffalo will now be sold at a negotiated price of $4.7 million. Upon execution of the Disposition Agreement, Gracious Living will have a 120-day due diligence period to conduct environmental testing and other investigations.

The Niagara Frontier Port Authority purchased the property from the Ford Motor Company in 1962, and then the NFTA took it over from the Port Authority when it was formed in 1967. Over the years, the buildings have been used by Tops Markets, Euro United, Sonwil Distribution, Nano Dynamics and Empire Liquidators, but most recently have been unoccupied. The buildings have been mothballed since December 31, 2010.

The project aligns with the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council's strategy of smart growth by utilizing an aging, existing building and also promotes advanced manufacturing. The NFTA's Board of Commissioners has previously determined that ownership, operation and development of the waterfront property are not consistent with the NFTA's transportation mission. The action taken at the NFTA's monthly meeting today signals a continued commitment on the part of the commissioners to transition out of the property development business so it can fully focus on growing its public transportation sector.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "Proving that manufacturing is still alive and well in Western New York, the long-vacant former port buildings on Buffalo's outer harbor will soon be home to a furniture manufacturer and more than 100 new jobs. Gracious Living will be utilizing the buildings, the location and our skilled local workforce to help revitalize the outer harbor. This Canadian company, which chose Buffalo as its first United States manufacturing location, is an exciting piece of the puzzle for bringing the property along Fuhrmann Boulevard back to life."

NFTA Commissioner and Chairman of the Property Risk Management Committee Peter G. Demakos said, "I am very pleased that our determination has paid off and we are now in a position to help rejuvenate these two waterfront structures via a private sector capital investment that will stimulate meaningful employment in the region."

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has been working with Gracious Living since November 2012, assisting the company with site selection, workforce, access to incentives and international due diligence.

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise President & CEO Thomas Kucharski said, "Gracious Living's significant investment and job creation commitment is one more impressive announcement in a string of great advanced manufacturing projects coming to our region over the last 36 months. This project reinforces what a great economic driver our waterfront can be, especially when combined with the rest of our great manufacturing assets. We were very pleased to assist Gracious Living over the last 10 months, and I am delighted to welcome Enzo Macri and his team to Buffalo Niagara."

Senator Mark Grisanti said, "Buffalo continues to see a surge in economic activity and Gracious Living's decision to locate at the port terminal buildings builds on that. I'm pleased that this respected Canadian company chose Buffalo's waterfront to expand its business, which will create jobs for the people of Western New York."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "Gracious Living's decision to expand in Buffalo amplifies Governor Cuomo's message that Western New York's waterfront is a valuable asset and we must work to foster its redevelopment. This manufacturer is bringing good paying jobs to our region, and demonstrating to companies across the country that Buffalo is a great place to do business."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Erie County's reputation as a location for Canadian-based businesses to set up U.S. operations continues to grow with the news that Gracious Living will be establishing operations on the waterfront and bringing with them 250 new jobs. This is the type of economic development project I have been advocating for and that will grow our economy. I thank Gracious Living for their commitment to our area and I look forward to them being strong economic partners for many years to come."

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his continued focus and leadership when it comes to Buffalo's waterfront development. Today is just the latest example of the Governor bringing new jobs and private investment to our city and Western New York. Buffalo's transformation continues from its neighborhoods to the waterfront."

About Gracious Living Corporation

Established in 1990, with headquarters in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, Gracious Living Corporation is a leading Canadian manufacturer and global importer of outdoor furniture, indoor outdoor organization solutions, utility garage systems, as well as pet products accessories. The company has manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Canada and over $100 million in annual sales. Gracious Living has been serving U.S. customers from its existing Canadian manufacturing facility.

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It was announced today by the Transportation Security Administration that they are expanding their expedited screening program to 60 new airports, including the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, bringing the total number of airports with TSA Precheck to 100.

The BNIA along with Albany International Airport, Greater Rochester International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Westchester County Airport are the other New York airports to be included in the program at this time. The BNIA's dedicated TSA Pre oâ„¢ lane will be operational October 1, to simplify the security screening experience.

TSA Precheck is an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in the BNIA's dedicated lane.

Passengers who are eligible for TSA Precheck include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs invited by participating airlines. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP's NEXUS program qualify to participate.

Eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America may receive expedited screening benefits. JetBlue and Southwest are expected to begin participating when operationally ready.

If a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, a TSA Precheck indicator will be embedded in the barcode of the boarding pass so that when scanned at the checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to a TSA Precheck lane. Many participating airlines already print a TSA Precheck indicator directly on the boarding pass so passengers will know in advance they have been cleared for expedited screening. TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport. No individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

Travelers can check TSA.gov/TSA-Precheck for information on locations and hours of active TSA Precheck lanes.

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A special meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will be held Thursday, September 5, at 8:30 a.m. in the sixth floor boardroom at the NFTA located at 181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY.

The purpose of the special meeting will be to discuss NFTA property in executive session.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that starting Wednesday, Aug. 28 through Friday, Sept. 6; the airport's main runway will be closed from 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. allowing workers an opportunity to perform annual maintenance and repairs on the runway.

As such, all commercial flights and cargo operations will utilize the alternative or crosswind runway during this timeframe, causing flight patterns to be different during this period.

In addition, starting Saturday, Sept. 7, for 10 consecutive nights, both runways will be closed to all aviation activities from 10:45 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning to allow for repairs to be made at the intersection of the two runways.

Airfield operations are expected to return to normal Wednesday, Sept. 18.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Metro Rail will operate modified, single track service starting Monday, June 24, as work continues to return vehicular traffic to Main Street. The single tracking rail service is expected to continue for the next two months.

The modified service is made necessary as a result of major improvements being made to the trackbed and track in the Theater District. All new track and pre-fabricated concrete panels are being installed starting at the portal, where trains enter and exit the aboveground portion of the rail line (in front of Shea's Performing Arts Center) to Chippewa Street.

As a result of the necessity to use the single tracking method, passengers will be required to transfer from one train to another at the Church Street Station in order to continue their trip on the train. During the single tracking, trains will operate on approximately 20 minute intervals.

During this period of modified service, Metro Rail customers with disabilities, including those using a mobility device, need to be aware of special boarding procedures that will be in place during this time.

- Inbound from University Station, passengers with a mobility device must board the last car if they intend to exit at any of the aboveground stations.

- Inbound from Church Street or Seneca Street Stations, passengers with a mobility device must board the first car.

- Outbound from Erie Canal Harbor or Seneca Street Stations, passengers using a mobility device must board the last car.

- Outbound customers boarding at Church Street, Lafayette or Fountain Plaza Stations using a mobility device must board the first car.

To assist customers during this project, Metro will provide special weekday shuttle bus service between downtown and University Station via Main Street. The shuttles will operate during peak times of the day, approximately from 6:30-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

Metro Rail and shuttle bus schedules along with informational maps are available online at nfta.com

The $1.6 million improvement project is being performed by Mark Cerrone, Inc., Niagara Falls, NY.

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