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News Room

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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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today it has been awarded a Certificate of Merit for Security by the American Public Transportation Association, for its policing initiatives as a part of the 2013 Rail Safety and Security Excellence Awards. This recognition is the result of the authority's commitment to increasing rail safety and security on its Metro Rail system. The NFTA Transit Police has made these commitments a reality; and as such, counter-terrorism has been a top priority in recent years.

The NFTA's counter-terrorism unit, which includes the largest K9 force in the region, conducts random VIPR (Visible Intermodal Protect and Respond) sweeps by screening individuals for explosive devices. The purpose of a VIPR exercise is to have a large, continual, visible police presence within the rail system to deter potential terrorist acts. This initiative combined with the vigilant support of local businesses along the 6.4 mile Metro Rail line has reduced overall crime by an impressive 20 percent this past year.

This program was made possible by a grant through the 2009 Transit Security Grant Program (ARRA funding). As of May 31, 2013, the grant has expired. The authority is currently in the process of submitting an application to renew funding, in hopes of maintaining ongoing police force efforts. Police Chief, George W. Gast stated, "The success of the counter-terrorism team was a collaborative effort between the transit police force and local transit community. It is imperative that this funding continues in order to capitalize on the effects of this program."

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Transit Police department introduced today a new high tech way for people to report criminal or suspicious transportation related activities via a NFTA See Say smartphone application.

With this specifically created NFTA app, people now have the ability to easily and instantly report suspicious activity to a dispatcher in the NFTA police communications center, while on a Metro bus, a train, in a rail station, at the Buffalo Niagara and Niagara Falls International Airports or at the NFTA-Boat Harbor. With just a few clicks, a person can share pictures, text and incident location in seconds.

George W. Gast, Chief of the NFTA Transit Police department said, "We are always looking for new tools to empower people to help keep our transportation facilities as safe and secure as possible. With this customized NFTA app, we are empowering everyone to be our eyes and ears. It all comes down to 'If You See Something, Say Something'."

The NFTA police are just the fourth law enforcement agency in the U.S. to implement this smartphone application for public transit use and the very first to use it for aviation and marina use. Originally designed for use within a public transit setting, the NFTA has expanded it to include its two airports and 1,033 slip marina.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, "The NFTA is serious about keeping its customers and facilities safe and secure. This new piece of technology reinforces our commitment of being in the forefront when it comes to ensuring the wellbeing of our customers, properties and employees."

"I ride the bus to work everyday and can see how this app can be applied in so many useful ways," said, Phil Haberstro, Executive Director of The Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo. "The technology contained in this app provides daily commuters like me with the ability to play an active role in the ongoing effort to maintain a safe and comfortable transit environment."

If You See Something, Say Something promotes a collaborative effort between the NFTA police and its customers. It provides a fast, high tech way for people to communicate unruly behavior on a bus, in a Metro rail station, at the boat harbor, or a suspicious, unattended package in an airport parking lot or terminal to NFTA police. This app also provides the ability for the police to proactively communicate high priority alerts during emergency situations to everyone who have downloaded the free app. Think road closures during snowstorms or a missing person report.

The program is discrete - users may choose to send reports anonymously and a rider's smartphone flash is automatically turned off when taking a photo of someone or something suspicious. The report is routed to the console at the transit dispatch center, where a police officer then manages the report. Reports are also immediately available on the Mobile Data Terminals in all 35 patrol cars.

"It's a priceless addition to our security capabilities. It gives customers a chance to send our police officers a message about anything they see; so we'll have a better chance to provide customer service and improve safety on buses, trains, in our airports or at the boat harbor," Gast said.

The NFTA app also allows for two-way communication so complainants can comment back on alerts received from transit police i.e. "I see the missing person" and for the transit dispatcher to ask a rider for more details regarding a specific report from a rider.

Android and iPhone users can now download the NFTA See Say application free at nfta.com/police or the iTunes app store.

The application was developed by ELERTS, Weymouth, Mass., creators of an industry-first personal safety social network for emergency notification. ELERTS is creating better emergency response systems by embracing high-speed mobile networks, smartphone technology and social media.

People get it. "We need to be watchful to help protect each other," said, Chris Russo, EVP and co-founder of ELERTS. "The See Say app makes it easy for people using public transit and airports to contribute to improving safety for everyone." Ed English, ELERTS CEO said, "We're pleased to introduce this emergency notification system in Buffalo Niagara with the belief that people will recognize the value of using the power of new technology to increase the level of their security."

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that it is ready to open its 1,033-slip marina to slip holders and the public one week ahead of the anticipated May 15 opening date.

The NFTA-Boat Harbor at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., less than three miles from Downtown Buffalo will open the 2013 season Wednesday, May 8, to accommodate slip holders and boaters who want to get an early start at docking or launching their boats at the marina.

Peter G. Demakos, NFTA commissioner and chairman of the NFTA's Property Committee said, "As a result of Mother Nature providing us with a relatively easy winter and the dedication and hard work of our employees, we are able to give our customers a head start on the boating season this year."

During the off-season maintenance workers were busy making improvements to the facilities and grounds that include the restrooms, launch ramp, decking and additional picnic tables have been added to accommodate patrons.

As a customer service, boaters who want to file a float plan can do so via the marina's website. Boat captains leaving the marina for one or more days (not necessary for short trips) may file a float plan with the dock master before casting off. This form is available online at nftaboatharbor.com or the dock office. Having this information on hand may prove valuable in the event an emergency occurs.

Rentals for the 2013 boating season are well ahead of last year, but there still are slips available to rent for this year. There are 1,017 slips for boats of varying sizes and 16 slips to accommodate Jet Skis. Slip rental information can be obtained at 828-0027 and online at nftaboatharbor.com.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced the Buffalo Niagara International Airport received a Balchen/Post Award for Outstanding Achievement at the recent 47th Annual International Aviation Snow Symposium.

The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives recognized the BNIA's "snow removal team" with the Honorable Mention Award in the medium commercial airport category. All categories of airports - commercial, general aviation and military compete for the awards. This is the 37th consecutive year that awards have been presented and the seventh time the BNIA has been so honored, the last recognition being for the 2010-11 winter.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director, said, "I am extremely proud of our team of snow removal professionals based on the reliable and consistent job they do in keeping our runways safe and operational during winter storms."

Nominations for consideration come from airlines, pilots, general aviation officials, hotel owners, corporate pilots and ground transportation operators. An independent selection committee screens the recommendations and makes the selections in various categories based on airport size, which is determined by the number of flights in and out of the airport during the year.

In making their selections, the committee considered not only the crew's ability to keep the airport runways free of ice and snow, but also snow removal plans, size of area to be cleared, equipment readiness, personnel training and overall safety awareness.

This past winter the main runway was never closed. "This award speaks volumes about the dedication and ability of our airfield crew, who work around the clock, including being away from their families on holidays and missing family functions while working to maintain our runways," Minkel added.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is hosting the 47th Annual Snow Symposium April 22-23, at the downtown Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Organizers expect 300 airport professionals, responsible for runway operations from around the world.

Kimberley A. Minkel, Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will open the conference, highlighting the economic and safety concerns that make snow, slush and ice mitigation so significant and the importance of successful strategies.

"A snowstorm can cost a major airport more than a quarter of a million dollars in removal alone. The cost of delays compounds that number. None of which compares to the potential safety risks ice and snow can create. The chance for the snow removal teams from around the world to exchange ideas and best practices is invaluable," Minkel said.

This year's featured speaker is Ralph Hood, a pilot and active in the aviation industry since 1972. During the 1980's he taught an aviation management course. He writes a blog and columns for AIRPORT BUSINESS magazine and other aviation periodicals. He has served on the planning committee of Southeastern Aviation Trades Association, as national training director for the Learn-to-fly Program, and as a director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Mr. Hood was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in September 2003, and holds the Class C1C, World Speed Record from Huntsville, Alabama to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

This is the 27th consecutive year the symposium is being hosted by the BNIA Event chairman, Thomas Dames, BNIA Airfield Superintendent said, "Western New York is a great place to host colleagues from other snowy climates. Buffalo, in particular, has always struggled with a reputation of being very snowy, but attendees return to their cities with a very positive message and different experience about the climate in Western New York. "

The featured event of the symposium is the Balchen/Post Awards, which are given to airport snow-control teams that have demonstrated determination and excellence in keeping their respective airport runways open and safe during winter storms.

The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives organizes the event. Mr. Dames can be reached at 716-512-0564 to address media requests during the event. Additional information can be found at www.snowsymposium.org/cfiles/home.php.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Phase II of Metro Rail's Main Street trackbed renovation project will commence Sunday, August 11. This phase is expected to continue through the summer.

The work to replace the track and trackbed has been completed on the inbound section in the Theater District, and now work will shift to restore the outbound side. 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, single tracking rail service will be in operation and 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 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 through Allen Medical Station, passengers with a mobility device must board the first 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 last car.

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

- Outbound customers boarding at Church Street, Lafayette or Fountain Plaza Stations using a mobility device must board the last 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 schedules and route maps are available online at nfta.com, in addition to a special Phase II Metro Rail map.

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

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced today that Metro Rail will operate modified, single track service Saturday, March 23, due to demolition work related to the City of Buffalo's project to return vehicular traffic to Main Street.

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Metro Rail service along the aboveground portion will operate only on the outbound track. The inbound track will be closed, as work commences on the demolition of the inbound Theater Station on the west side of Main Street.

As a result, at Fountain Plaza Station all passengers will have to transfer to a train on the outbound side to continue their trip.

The day's first train will leave Erie Canal Harbor Station at approximately 7 a.m. and depart every 15 minutes thereafter. The first train will depart University Station at approximately 7:30 a.m. and every 15 minutes thereafter. There may be minor delays in service.

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Buffalo, NY . . . The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced that customers who want their own reserved parking space, close to the terminal when they arrive at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport has become a reality.

BNIA customers wishing to have a reserved, covered parking space in the Daily/Hourly garage, with easy access to the terminal can now go online to reserve a space by the day or for multiple days.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA executive director said, "We are pleased to be able to offer our airport customers this upgrade in parking convenience. Reserved, covered parking right in front of the terminal is a unique service that sets us apart from off-airport parking providers."

Reservations are made and paid for online at buffaloairport.com. After an account is established, the customer indicates how many days, the dates they want to reserve and pre-pays the $3 per-day reservation surcharge using a credit card. They then print their receipt, which is to be placed on the dash board while the car is in the reserved section of the garage. The daily parking rate is paid when the customer exits the parking facility.

In addition, the airport's website features a parking calculator that provides the exact cost of parking in any airport lot, parking availability and rates for each of the airport's four onsite parking options.

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Buffalo, NY . . . Calling civilians interested in learning about the structure and responsibilities of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Transit Police department.

The police department is conducting its third Citizens Police Academy to give people a behind-the-scenes look at how a modern police department functions. The six-week course helps people to better understand the challenges and rewards of law enforcement in general, and specifically how the NFTA-Transit Police interacts with the community.

Admission is free and open to all members of the community, 18 years and older. All applicants are required to pass a thorough background check. Class size is limited to 15 people. Classes are two and half hours and will be held at various NFTA facilities.

Classes start May 1, and will include hands-on workshops, time in a firearms simulator, tour of communication center, K-9 Unit demonstration, tour of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, crime scene/photography, criminal investigations and a ride-along with a transit officer. Participants receive a graduation certificate if a minimum of 80 percent of the course work is completed.

Applications can be downloaded at nfta.com/police or may be picked up at police headquarters at 1404 Main Street, Buffalo. Applications must be received by April 10.

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Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority   |   181 Ellicott Street   |   Buffalo, New York 14203
NFTA 716-855-7300   |   NFTA-Metro Customer Care 716-855-7211   |   TTY/Relay 711 or 800-662-1220
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Metro Bus & Rail Buffalo Niagara International Airport Niagara Falls International Airport