NFTA: Wikis

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Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
Slogan Serving Buffalo Niagara
Founded 1967
Headquarters Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center
181 Ellicot Street, Buffalo, NY
Service area Erie and Niagara Counties, New York
Service type Public Transit
Fleet Bus, Light rail, Rapid transit
Fuel type Diesel, Diesel-electric hybrid, Electricity
Operator NFTA Metro Bus and Rail
Web site Official Website

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) is the quasi-public local provider of transportation management for Erie and Niagara counties in the State of New York. The NFTA oversees a number of subsidiaries, including the NFTA Metro bus and rail system, the Greater Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Falls International Airport, and NFTA Small Boat Harbor. The NFTA Metro bus and rail system operates various vehicles using the brand names: NFTA Metro Bus, NFTA Metro Rail, NFTA Metrolink, and NFTA PAL (Para-transit Access Line).

In addition, the NFTA also owns and manages the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center in Downtown Buffalo (which serves as the agency's headquarters); the Niagara Falls Transportation Center on Military Road (near the Factory Outlet Mall) and the Portage Road Transit Center in Niagara Falls; and a number of strategically located bus loops and transit centers in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Many of these loops have been in continuous operation since the days of the International Railway Company, an earlier predecessor to the NFTA.

Agency-wide, the NFTA employs 1,543 full time and part-time employees and carries 94,000 passengers per day with their NFTA Metro subsidiary, with 8.9 million miles traveled every year. The NFTA Metro Bus fleet currently consists of 332 buses and 4 trolley style buses on over 60 local, express and shuttle routes. The NFTA Metro Rail System operates daily with its fleet of 27 rail cars. The NFTA Metrolink network operates about 10 vans, and the NFTA PAL operates approximately 25 vans. All service provided by the NFTA Metro subsidiary is wheelchair accessible, either by using wheelchair lifts or low-floor access.

Although the agency encompasses a wide spectrum of transportation services, with the airports, boat harbor and real estate, this article will primarily focus one of its most visible subsidiaries, the NFTA Metro system.



Before the creation of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the first bus operations in Buffalo dates back to 1923 under the private operator International Bus Company. The International Railway Company (also under the same parent company of the International Traction Company) operated the vast network of streetcar routes in Erie and Niagara counties. In 1947 the proposed Niagara Frontier Rapid Transit Commission received ownership of the International Railway Company, and gave way to the creation of the Niagara Frontier Transit System, Incorporated in 1950.

The Niagara Frontier Transit System was replaced by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Corp (NFTA) in 1967, as part of New York State's efforts in the late 1960s and early 1970s at creating public agencies that would oversee the development and continuation of public transportation in a number of key urban areas of the state; other such agencies include the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA), the Central New York Transportation Authority (Centro), and the Capital Regional Transportation Authority (CDTA). NFTA purchased the street transportation rights from seven other private agencies, some of which include:

  • Buffalo Transit Company,
  • Dunkirk and Fredonia (D&F) Transportation Company,
  • Grand Island Transit, Inc.
  • Lockport Bus Lines,
  • Ridge Road Express,
  • Tonawanda/North Tonawanda Transit, and the
  • Niagara Falls Municipal Transit System.

In the same period of time, the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority and Capital District Transportation Authority were given similar arrangements for the city and surrounding areas they served.

Sources 1: Images of America: Buffalo's Historic Streetcars and Buses, D. David Bregger

Service area

NFTA's Metro system serves most of Erie and Niagara counties; the cities served include Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Lackawanna, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda.

Transit fleet

Current transit vehicle fleet

(All vehicles are wheelchair-accessible and ADA compliant Handicapped/disabled access)

Fleet Number(s) Year Manufacturer Model Station(s) Notes
101-127 1983 Tokyu Car Corp. (Japan) South Park
9301-9375 [1] 1993 New Flyer (NFI) D40HF Babcock/William
  • Many buses are retired.
  • Bus 9318 was unique in that it had the livery of the old International Bus Company instead of normal NFTA livery.
9501-9567 [2] 1995 American Ikarus 416 Babcock/William
  • Built in early 1996.
  • In process of being retired.
9601-9641 [3] 1996 Nova Bus TC40-102A
Cold Springs
  • In process of being retired.
  • A majority of buses are still painted in the "earth tone" livery.
2001-2021 2000 Nova Bus LFS40-102 Cold Springs
  • First "Low Floor" buses for NFTA.
  • First buses in the current blue-silver "wave" livery.
  • First production buses able to announce major stops along route.
2101-2141 2001 Gillig Advantage T40 Cold Springs (2101-2120)
  • First buses to be equipped with amber colored LED destination signs
2201-2242 2002 Gillig Advantage T40 Frontier (2201-2235,2238-2239,2242)
Cold Springs (2236-2237,2240-2241)
2401-2422 2004 Gillig Advantage T29 Cold Springs (2401-2406)
Frontier (2407-2416)
Babcock/William (2417-2422)
  • At present, these are the only 29' buses in the fleet.
  • First buses fitted with bicycle racks on the front.
2501-2515 2005 Gillig Advantage T40 Babcock/William
2601-2630 2006 Gillig Advantage T40 Hybrid Cold Springs (2601-2615)
Babcock/William (2616-2630)
  • First batch of "Hybrid" buses, using combination diesel/electric technology. Energy is returned to batteries upon braking.
2701-2713 2007 Gillig Advantage T40 Hybrid Frontier

Other Vehicles

  • Ford vans for Metro Paratransit - 25
  • Ford vans for Metrolink - 10

The NFTA also has 10 CNG (compressed natural gas) vintage style green trolley style buses are used for the USA Niagara Link route and special services when warranted. These vehicles are listed with numbers in the 8000 range.

(All bus routes run out of Kenmore/Military on weekends. Metro Rail operates from South Park Terminal, seven-days-a-week)

Future fleet

Number ordered Year Manufacturer Model Station(s) Notes
(35)[4] Gillig Advantage T-40
  • Hybrid
  • first buses to operate, using LED lighting inside the coach
  • Buses purchased, using Economic Stimulus monies.
  • 1001-1011 Delivered early February.
(56)[5] Gillig Advantage T-40
  • Diesel
  • first buses to operate, using LED lighting inside the coach
  • Buses purchased, using Economic Stimulus monies.

Retired fleet

Fleet Number(s) Year Manufacturer Model Notes
6200-6244 [6] 1957 Mack C49-DT
6300-6359 [7] 1958 Mack C49-DT
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit System buses
  • Built with Mack "New Look" front
7001-7030 [8] 1954 GMC TDH-5106
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit Buses
7100-7114 [9] 1957 GMC TDH-5106
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit buses
300-319 [10] 1958 GMC TDH-5106
  • Former Buffalo Transit, Inc. Buses
7401-7459 [11] 1960, 1961 GMC TDH-5301
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit System buses
166, 168[12] 1960 GMC SDM-4501
  • Former Grand Island Transit buses, acquired in 1975 (prev. fleet 66, 68)
7501-7549 [13] 1963 GMC TDH-5304
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit System buses
7600-7684 [14] 1966 GMC TDH-5304
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit System buses
104[15] 1967 GMC SDM-5302
  • Former Grand Island Transit bus, acquired in 1975 (prev. fleet 104)
7685-7719 [16] 1967 GMC TDH-5304
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit System buses
7720-7794 [17] 1968 GMC T6H-5306
  • Former Niagara Frontier Transit System buses
  • 7754 retained as "heritage" bus
1968 GMC T6H-4521
  • Former Niagara Falls Municipal Transit System buses
114 [18] 1970 GMC S8M-5303A
  • Former Grand Island Transit bus, acquired in 1975 (prev. fleet 114)
Handicapped/disabled access3001-3005 1970 Highway Products (Twin Coach) TC-24
  • Purchased for use on 29 Wohlers and 31 Ogden-Tifft routes, using a shorter (35') bus.
  • Buses were the first equipped with wheelchair lifts.
4001-4070 1975-1976 AM General 9640A "Metropolitan"
  • Remainder of buses retired prematurely due to serious structural issues, and were replaced temporarily in 1987 with surplus buses from Rochester (Flxible) and Dallas (GMC RTS-01) series buses.
4071-4099 [19] 1975-1976 AM General 9635A "Metropolitan"
  • Remainder of buses retired prematurely due to serious structural issues, and were replaced temporarily in 1987 with surplus buses from Rochester (Flxible) and Dallas (GMC RTS-01) series buses.
3051-3063 [20] 1976 GMC S8H-5304A
  • Suburban (front door only) configuration used on suburban services.
  • High back vinyl seats, raised floor and baggage racks overhead.
5001-5065 [21] 1978-1979 GMC RTS-03 (T8H-603)
  • The NFTA was the first delivery of this model, serial numbers assigned were 001-065.[22]
Handicapped/disabled access5066-5078 [23] 1980 GMC RTS-03 (T8H-603)
  • First order of buses with installed wheelchair lifts (at rear of bus), following new Federal ADA compliance laws for all new bus purchases.
  • Last buses with yellow-black-white livery.
Handicapped/disabled access6001-6110 1983 GMC RTS-04 (T8J-604)
  • First buses with earth tone (orange-gold-brown) livery.
601-607 [24] 1985 Orion/BIA 01.509
  • Last new non-wheelchair lift-equipped buses purchased.
Handicapped/disabled access701-773 [25] 1986 Orion/BIA 01.508
  • Some buses sold to RGRTA (Rochester), BC Transit (Binghamton), and one to Poughkeepsie Transit.
Handicapped/disabled access801-816 [26] 1988 Orion/BIA 01.508
  • First electronic "flip-dot" destination signs.
Handicapped/disabled access851-852 [27] 1988 Orion/BIA 01.502 (30')
  • Used on 29-Wohlers route.
  • Last buses purchased with "curtain" style destination roll signs.
Handicapped/disabled access861-867 [28] 1990 Orion/BIA 01.507 (35')
  • 861-862 were assigned to Main/Michigan for 29-Wohlers route.
  • 863-867 were assigned to Frontier for use in Niagara Falls.
Handicapped/disabled access901-912 [29] 1989 Orion/BIA 01.508
  • First buses with "air ride" driver's seats.
Handicapped/disabled access921-925 [30] 1990 Orion/BIA 01.508
  • Last of the Orion I buses.
  • Bus 925 was fitted with "hopper" type windows rather than sliding windows.
  • Also first buses, along with 861-867 with fabric covered inserts in the passenger seats.
301-305 ~1987 (built 1970) Flxible 111CD-D5
  • Purchased second-hand from RGRTA (Rochester) to fill gaps in buses, due to the emergency retirement of the fleet of AM General buses
321-367 ~1987 (built 1978) GMC RTS-01 (TH-8201)
  • Purchased second-hand from DART (Dallas, TX) to fill gaps in buses, due to the emergency retirement of the fleet of AM General buses
Handicapped/disabled access201-222 1991 Orion/BIA 05.501
  • First wider (102") buses ordered directly by NFTA Metro.
  • Also first buses with front door equipped wheelchair lifts.
Handicapped/disabled access401-417 1992 MCI TC40-102A "Classic"
Handicapped/disabled access501-505 1993 Orion/BIA 05.501 CNG
  • First buses using compressed natural gas (CNG)

General comments

  • When NFTA Metro purchased their final Orion I buses in 1990, Niagara Scenic Coach Lines purchased an Orion 01.509 Suburban bus from the NFTA for their Jamestown, New York route.
  • The New Flyer Industry buses purchased in 1993 (fleet numbers 9301-9360) were equipped with Detroit Diesel 6V92 engines and Allison ATEC transmissions. Fleet numbers 9361-9375 were equipped with Detroit Diesel Series 50 engines and ZF transmissions
  • Common with many of the older buses from the 1950s and 1960s , the front destination sign configuration had an external backlit numerical sign installed that required the operator to use an extension pole to change the sign. After the purchase of the 7600-series GMC TDH-5304 New Looks, all curtain destination signs were controlled from the interior of the coach using a knob with a stem. The AM General Metropolitan buses were the first with motorized destination signs, using three separate switches, controlling the route number, the route variation letter, and the destination. Beginning with the Orion Bus Industries buses purchased in 1988 (fleet numbers 801-816, buses began operating with electric destination signs; first using flip dot technology, and then using LED displays.
  • When GMC first introduced the RTS-01 in 1975, there was the pronounced "slope" at the rear of the bus because the air conditioning (AC) components were originally mounted in the engine compartment. With the introduction of the GMC RTS-04 model, the AC components were relocated to the upper rear of the bus, necessitating the "squared-off" rear end. Aftermarket AC retrofits to the GMC RTS-01 and GMC RTS-03 buses enabled the use of caps that squared off the rear end.
  • The 6000-series GMC RTS-04 buses were delivered with the "Earth Tone" livery and black trim encompassing the upper rear of the bus, which was a standard GMC trim package at that time. Many of the 4000-series AM General Metropolitan buses were repainted to reflect the same look. After the first delivery of the Orion I buses in 1985-1986, the remaining AM General and many of the GMC "New Look" buses were repainted in white rather than black trim. In 1988, NFTA Metro began an aggressive repainting program for the entire fleet of GMC and Orion buses due to the fading of the original finishes on the vehicles. As a result, the GMC RTS-04 buses did not have the black trim any longer and the 5000-series GMC RTS-03 buses were repainted to match the rest of the fleet.
  • In 1988, when the general fare was raised from $.80 to $1.00, all buses were refitted with GFI Cents-a-Bill electronic fareboxes that accepted bills as well as coins. At the beginning, these fareboxes were not equipped with card readers, but were re-fitted later to accept Metro's new fare and pass media.
  • NFTA Metro has used advertising over the course of time to generate revenue towards operations. Recent companies advertising on buses included Russer deli meats (bus wrap and coupon cards inside buses), Continental Airlines (side bus wrap), Elma Collision (entire bus wrap) and various Fucillo auto dealerships (entire bus wrap).

Bus routes

Many of the routes in the City of Buffalo operate along nearly the same alignment of the previous International Railway Company's streetcar lines. After the elimination of streetcar service, many adjustments have been made in routing through Downtown Buffalo to allow better connections between routes connecting the city's east side and west side, with many of the routes operating through at least one of two of the major transfer points: the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center at the corner of North Division and Ellicott Streets, and on Court Street between Niagara Square and Main Streets. The Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center is also the transfer point for inter-city bus service using Greyhound, Coach USA, or Greyhound Lines of Canada.

Although not exact, it is of note that the routes follow a certain numbering schematic.

  • 1-49: Erie County routes
  • 50-59: Niagara County routes
  • 60-89: express routes
  • 90-99: special services (Buffalo Bills, Darien Lake, etc.)
  • 100-121: Buffalo Public School trips
  • 200-216: Metro Link routes

When boarding a bus, the passenger is encouraged to note the following:

  • The front of the bus carries (in order) the route number, the routing letter (for routes with multiple branches) and the destination (usually a community or the major street where the trip terminates).
  • The side of the bus will carry the route number and the route name, to assure the passenger they are boarding the correct route.

Since all buses now operate with electronic destination signs, a supplemental message may contain information if the trip diverts from the normal route, such as service into shopping plazas or particular communities.

It has been normal practice for each route to be given a separate timetable, which includes a map of the route on the front, fare and pass information on the back panel, and information on the times and days service is offered. Not all stops are listed in the timetables, but passengers can expect to see at least major transfer points and busy intersections.

Timetables are generally updated four times a year; mid-March, mid-June, early September and late December. Many Buffalo City schedules see a slight decrease in service in the month of June, since many public schools and colleges are on summer break. During the first Sunday of September (the week of Labor Day), service reverts to its previous levels.

Additionally, since March 1993, schedules have been color coded to the season they are effective so that one can easily identify if the schedule is current or not. Normally, red schedules note fall service, purple note winter service, green note spring service, and blue notes summer service. All schedules (whether noting changes or not) are issued new timetables each season.

Current Standard Routes

for descriptions of these and other services, see NFTA Metro Bus Routes

Past/previous routes

  • 9 Parkside Zoo
  • 10 West Utica
  • 17 Central Terminal
  • 17 Kensington Suburban
  • 18 Jefferson-Parkside
  • 21 Michigan - Forest
  • 27 Ridge Road
  • 28 Sheridan
  • 31 Ogden - Tifft/ Ogden-Bailey
  • 33 Tonawanda/North Tonawanda
  • 35 Hamburg via Abbott
  • 37 Hamburg via Camp
  • 38 Angola
  • 39 Parker
  • 41 Sheridan - Harlem
  • 42 North Campus Shuttle
  • 43 Mall Shuttle
  • 46 ECMC Shuttle
  • 51 Buffalo Av (Niagara Falls)
  • 53 Niagara (Niagara Falls)
  • 58 Lockport Niagara Falls
  • 71 Holland
  • 73 Lancaster
  • 80 ECC Shuttle
  • 82 Outer Harbor Shuttle
  • 105 Central Express
  • 114 Central North
  • 117 Kensington
  • 202 Metrolink Shuttle
  • 208 Grant Circulator

Planned/future routes

The NFTA's original "Hublink" concept, now renamed "Metrolink", created a network of routes (numbered in the 200 and 300 series range) linking multiple transportation centers together, using smaller van sized buses. A minimum service standard was created, where buses were to operate on a frequent schedule through the day, effectively speeding passengers across the region. Additionally, circulator routes were to be created linking passengers with community-based service for a number of high-density areas that do not necessarily support normal city bus transit service.

2010 restructuring

In the middle part of 2009, the NFTA hired Transportation Management and Design,Inc. to begin a "Transit Service Restructuring and Fare Study", that could involve some of the largest changes that the riding public has seen since the previous major restructuring of March 1993.

Some of the fare proposals included reducing the number of fare zones to single zone, elimination of transfers, and modification of pricing to cash fares, monthly and daily passes.

On the serving modification side, more emphasis will be taken on urban services, primarily within the City of Buffalo. Service on primary corridors, such as those serving densely patronized routes will find an increase in service, to promote spontaneous usage. Lightly patronized routes may find reductions to fit ridership statistics, and allow the agency to more effectively use the buses on heavier patronized routes.

Once approval is reached between TMD,Inc. and the NFTA executive board, the changes will begin to be implemented with the summer and autumn schedule changes of 2010.[31]


  • 249 Training
  • Babcock/William
  • Broadway/Bailey #
  • Buffalo/13th #
  • Kenmore/Military
  • Main/Michigan
  1. - "#" Denotes unused signage since closure of depot.


The NFTA Metro Bus and Rail system offers many ways to pay for bus or rail fare.


The NFTA operates on an "exact fare" system, in which drivers and operators do not make change.

Fares vary, depending on the distance travelled, and if a zone change has been made. In the NFTA Metro System, there are four fare zone boundaries.

With Buffalo located near the center of the service area, most of the zone fare boundaries follow the circumference surrounding the city. Zone two includes the first tier suburban areas (Tonawanda, Amherst, Cheektowaga, West Seneca, and Lackawanna); zone three continues from the first tier suburbs effectively surrounding the next tier of towns, and zone four includes the rest of the furthest towns.

Fares are paid before, or upon boarding, using cash (dollar bills and coins), tokens, day passes, or monthly fare media. Certain vending machines at rail stations allow payments, using a debit or credit card. While heading outbound (from Buffalo), passengers pay their first zone fare upon boarding, and the remainder upon leaving the bus. All other times, the entire fare is due upon boarding.

Transfers may also be issued for $.35, allowing passengers to transfer to another vehicle to complete a one-way trip. At no time are passengers allowed to return to their place of origin using the same transfer.

The current fees charged are:

Passenger 1 zone 2 zone 3 zone 4 zone (all)
Adult $ 1.75 $ 2.05 $ 2.35 $ 2.65

Elderly, Disabled, Child

$ .75 $ .90 $ 1.05 $ 1.20

College cooperative agreements

In recent years, the NFTA has aggressively pursued agreements with many local colleges and universities, using their "NFTA Unlimited Access" program. Under the program, students are offered semester passes that allow the user unrestricted travel on any NFTA regularly scheduled service, with the exception of Buffalo Bills Shuttles and Darien Lake Express service.

Erie Community College was the at the forefront of this service, and originally provided students a tri-campus shuttle linking the three campuses through the ECC Downtown Campus. Route 80 operated for approximately two calendar years, but service was eliminated, and students were given the opportunity to use alternate service on local bus routes.

Other colleges and universities included in the program are:

Buffalo State College, Medaille College and Canisius College also benefit from a special shuttle operating Friday and Saturday nights into Downtown Buffalo's Entertainment and Theater Districts, using Elmwood, the Scajaquada Expressway and Main Street. This route is designated as a "route 20E" service, and operates during school semesters only.

Other fare media (passes)

Monthly passes are available for single zones (for $64.00), or for all-zone (for $77.00).

Day passes are sold for $4.00 for all-zone access, while there is a weekend pass (covering Saturdays and Sunday riding) for $7.00

Metal tokens covering the first zone charge of each trip are available at a discounted rate for $1.60 each when purchased 10 at a time through participating local banks or at the transportation center in Downtown Buffalo.

Source-NFTA Website

Properties (stations/garages/barns)

Bus and rail depots

All buses are stored at three depots:

  • Cold Spring Terminal (Main & Michigan, Buffalo)
  • Frontier Terminal (Kenmore & Military, Buffalo)
  • Gisel/Wolford Terminal (Babcock nr. William, Buffalo)

Metro Rail trains are stored at one depot:

  • South Park Terminal (South Park nr Main, Downtown Buffalo)

Past Depots:

  • Broadway Barns (Broadway & Greene, Buffalo)
  • Buffalo & 13th (Buffalo & 13th, Niagara Falls)
  • Forest (Forest at Abbotsford, Buffalo)
  • Hertel & Military (Military & Hertel, Buffalo)
  • Main & Virginia (Main & Virginia Streets, Buffalo)
  • Walden & Lathrop (Walden & Lathrop Streets, Buffalo)

Transportation (Intermodal) centers

Most buses operating to the city centers operate to or near:

  • Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center Ellicott & North Division, in Downtown Buffalo - built in 1977; also NFTA's headquarters
  • Portage Road Transit Center on Portage near Cedar, near Downtown Niagara Falls
  • Niagara Falls Transportation Center 2250 Factory Outlet Blvd near Military, Niagara Falls - opened December 24, 2007

Suburban transit centers

In addition, a number of transit centers were created in suburban locations to allow passengers to transfer between other routes in a coordinated location. Suburban transit centers operate with more amenities than typical loops used on many city routes. Suburban transit centers tend to be located on properties like shopping centers, and include separate shelters for each stop, pay telephones, schedule information, and possible restroom areas for drivers and agency employees.

  • Appletree Business Park off Bennett Road on south end of property
  • Athol Springs on Big Tree Road @ NYS 5
  • Southgate Plaza near Citibank
  • Niagara Falls International Airport on Niagara Falls Boulevard
  • Thruway Plaza off Harlem Road on west end of plaza property
  • Tonawanda at the southwest corner of Niagara & Main in the City of Tonawanda
  • Victory at corner of South Park at Ridge Road, Lackawanna

Bus loops and terminals

Many loops serving as terminals for NFTA bus routes are properties that were originally created for the International Railway's streetcars to turn around in. The International Railway Company (IRC) was the primary predecessor to the Niagara Frontier Transit System (c. 1950), and ultimately, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (c. ~1972).

Metro Rail stations

Stations with bus loops

  • Utica, NE corner of Main & E Utica
  • Delavan/Canisius College (previously Delavan/College), NE corner of Main & E. Delavan
  • LaSalle, NW corner of Main & LaSalle Street
  • University (previously South Campus), South of Main & Capen Blvd.

Stations without bus loops

  • Erie Canal Harbor (previously Auditorium), Main Street, between Scott & Exchange, Downtown Buffalo
  • Seneca, Main Street, between Seneca & Swan, Downtown Buffalo
  • Church, Main Street, between Church & Eagle, Downtown Buffalo
  • Lafayette Square, Main Street, between Lafayette Square & Mohawk, Downtown Buffalo
  • Fountain Plaza (previously Huron), Main Street, between Huron & Chippawa, Downtown Buffalo
  • Theater, Main Street, between Chippawa & Tupper, Downtown Buffalo
  • Allen-Medical Campus (previously Allen-Hospital), Main Street, east of Allen Street
  • Summer-Best, Main Street, at Northeast corner of Best Street
  • Humboldt/Hospital, Main Street, at foot of Kensington Av.
  • Amherst, North of Main Street, surrounded by Main on southeast, Parker on west, and Amherst north.

These stations use surrounding streets as boarding areas for buses.

Active bus loops

  • Andrews Loop northwest corner of Genesee St and Andrews, Cheektowaga
  • Fernwood Loop at foot of Rossler at Clinton St, Buffalo
  • Goethe Loop southeast corner of Lovejoy Av and Goethe St, Buffalo
  • Michael Loop southeast corner of Broadway and Michael St, Sloan
  • Nason Loop Nason Pkwy at South Park Av, Lackawanna
  • Vulcan (Baxter) Loop northeast corner of Vulcan and Baxter St, Buffalo
  • Jersey Left on exit from Main St at Bailey Av, Buffalo
  • Paramount Loop on Colvin at Paramount, Tonawanda
  • Huntley Loop on Kensington nr Huntley, Buffalo/Cheektowaga
  • City Line (Wildwood) Loop on Seneca at Buffalo City Line
  • Southside Loop northeast corner of Bailey Av. and Abbott Rd., Buffalo
  • Orchard Loop on southeast corner of Delaware at Orchard, Tonawanda
  • Walden/Bailey (St. Mary's) Loop on Walden, west of Bailey Av.
  • Ellicott Loop bounded by North Division, South Division, Ellicott and Oak, Buffalo

Inactive bus loops

  • Blanche Loop southwest corner of Elmwood at Kenmore, Buffalo/Kenmore border
  • Coburg Loop southeast corner of Kenmore at Coburg St., Buffalo: currently being used as parking for the Family Dollar store, which was previously a Rite Aid Pharmacy. This loop was created as a terminal for the now deceased route 9-Parkside/Zoo bus and the short-turn (City Line) terminus for the 11A Colvin route, when service was eliminated from Virgil Loop, further west on Kenmore Avenue, near Delaware.
  • Delmar Loop on Oliver at Ward, North Tonawanda
  • Ensminger Loop on Esminger, near Sheridan Parkside Dr., Town of Tonawanda
  • Greenwood Loop on Abbott Road, near Greenwood, Lackawanna/Blasdell
  • Highgate Loop on Bailey Av, near Highgate St., Buffalo: service was extended on route 13-Kensington to University Station, and route 32-Amherst service to Kensington and Huntley Streets. Currently used as parking for beauty supply company next door.
  • Irwin Loop at corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Irwin
  • Jefferson Loop at corner of Main St. and Jefferson, Buffalo: service was moved to Delavan-Canisius College Station with the opening of the Metro Rail line. The loop was removed, and part of the previous Blue Cross/Blue Shield building sits on its site.
  • Pacific Loop on Hertel, east of Pacific St, Buffalo: service was moved to Vista Marina Apartments, then Watergate Apartments.
  • Pine Hill Loop on Genesee near Pine Ridge Road, Cheektowaga
  • Preston Loop on East Delavan, near Preston St, Buffalo
  • Robbins Loop on Porter at Robbins Road, Niagara Falls
  • Seabrook Loop on Kenmore Av at Vulcan, Buffalo (used by Buffalo Public Schools)
  • Virgil Loop on Kenmore at Virgil St, Buffalo
  • Windermere Loop on Main Street at Kenmore Ave., Buffalo/Amherst border: Windermere loop existed in a few different configurations over the course of time, in which it originally sat in the area of the current University Plaza during the streetcar era; on Kenmore Ave (before Main) next door to the FIRST location of May Jen restaurant, and again at the corner of Main & Kenmore next to the Walgreens Pharmacy. With the reconfiguration of the corner of Main and Kenmore, the new intersection cuts through the approximate area, forever removing any trace that the loop had even existed. The Jersey "Left" loop has taken over as the terminal point for routes that serviced Windermere Loop.

Metro Rail (light rail rapid transit)

See also: Buffalo Metro Rail and List of Buffalo Metro Rail Stations

Light rail and rapid transit

Buffalo's first street railway began operations in 1832 with horse car routes on Pearl Street and Terrace operating to the Canada Ferry terminal. In 1860, the Buffalo Street Railway Company was established. Electric streetcars began operating in Buffalo in 1889 and the last horse car retired in 1894. In Niagara Falls village, the first electric cars began in 1883, In 1902, the International Railway Company was created from the merger of the Buffalo's first street railway operator and Buffalo Street Railway Company. The trolley service ended in 1950 and would not resume until construction of the present LRT began in 1979, opening on May 1, 1986.

The current 6.4 mile (10.3 km) line makes stops at: Erie Canal Harbor, Seneca, Church, Lafayette Square, Fountain Plaza, Theater, Allen-Medical Campus, Summer-Best, Utica, Delavan-Canisius College, Humboldt-Hospital, Amherst Street, LaSalle, and University. An additional station, called "Special Events" Station, sits just south of the current Erie Canal Harbor Station allowing passengers a shorter walk to the HSBC Arena. This station is only served during major events, such as hockey, concerts and sports related functions.

Future plans for the Metro Rail

See Citizens Regional Transit Corporation for more details.

The Citizens Regional Transit Corporation (CRTC) has continuously lobbied local and state politians to provide funding or support for extensions to the current one-line system.

A proposed Airport Corridor line follows the Division Street area, cutting through to the old New York Central Terminal around Jefferson Avenue, following old track bed through the CSX line between Walden and Broadway to Thruway Plaza, Galleria Mall and Buffalo Niagara Airport.

A proposed Tonawanda Corridor line follows the old Erie RR right-of-way (ROW) from LaSalle Station through to the Town and City of Tonawanda, and the City of North Tonawanda. This line has a number of branches; one operating through North Buffalo to Elmwood (known as the North Buffalo Branch), to Niagara Falls following the old New York Central Railroad's "Beeliner" service (known as the Niagara River Corridor) and to the North Campus of the University at Buffalo, using abandoned railroad right-of-ways (known as the Youngmann Branch).

These and many other proposals have hit various roadblocks, but the CRTC has not wavered in their support for these extensions. Lately, to the happiness of the groups members, a number of important political figures have shown their support.

LRV fleet details

  • Manufacturer: Tokyu Car Corporation, Japan
  • Fleet size:: 26 (one car {125} damaged in transit upon delivery in 1983)
  • Fleet No.:: 101-127
  • Length: 66 feet 10 inches (20370 mm)
  • Width: 8 feet 6.5 inches (2603 mm)
  • Weight: 35.5 tons
  • Normal capacity: 140 (including 51 seated)
  • Control: 4 chopper controlled Westinghouse motors (at 650V DC)
  • Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) (standard gauge)

Fleet refurbishment

Two cars (fleet numbers 114 and 123) were sent to Gray Manufacturing Industries in Hornell, New York in February of 2010 to undergo a complete refurbishment from top to bottom. GMI expects to return a car once each month, making the entire project last approximately two years to complete.

Among the items being refurbished, passengers will experience new seating, stanchions, electronic signage and new audio systems. Operation-wise, the shells of the car will be placed on refurbished trucks, with new wheels, gear boxes, overhauled traction motors, new pantographs, brakes and air compression systems.[32]

Corporate identity

Coloring and print media

The current color scheme (navy, grey and burgundy) first appeared on the 2000 series (Nova Bus LFS) coaches in early 2001. The color scheme met with approval on most sides. According to a past Buffalo News article, the colors and logo were chosen to link the area's "water" image with the company. The force of the Niagara River, and Niagara Falls contribute to the idea of the "wave" design that was chosen.

With the arrival of the 6000 series GMC RTS-04 buses in 1984, the NFTA's Metro system operated its vehicles using a color scheme of brown, yellow and orange (sometimes referred to as "earth tone" or "candy corn". This color scheme is easiest to recognize on many of the 9600 series coaches. As of 2007, this color scheme can now be found on only a handful of buses, as most of the buses featuring it have been either been re-painted in the new color scheme (see below) or retired. However, most of the Metro Rail trains still retain the old color scheme. It has been expected that the remaining cars will be painted in the newer livery upon their mid-life overhaul, originally expected to begin in 2007.

Further back, the Niagara Frontier Transit Metro System had worked with a yellow and black scheme (early 1970s), and a red and cream color scheme (1950-1960s). The International Railway Company, the predecessor to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Service used either an orange and black, or forest green and vermilion scheme for their vehicles.

The NFTA used a circular logo during the 1970s for the parent corporation, showing a nested combination of a bus, airplane, and ship. For the NFTA Metro system, a simple typeface, similar to blippo spelled out "metro bus". Towards the end of the 1990s a modified "M" in the same typeface, except with a "swoosh" style to the left of the letter. In 2000, the NFTA replaced its logo type with one similar to "Impact" in the italicized version. This style is present on all NFTA correspondence, including the NFTA Metro Bus and Rail system, the Greater Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Falls International Airport, the NFTA Small Boat Harbor among others.

Present and past slogans

  • "Serving Buffalo/Niagara"
  • "Serving the Niagara Region"
  • "Let Metro Take You Where You Want to Go!" (past)
  • "We're Going Your Way!" (past)

Noteworthy dates and events

  • April 1, 1974: The NFTA takeover of the Niagara Frontier Transit System, Inc. occurred on this date.1
  • October 9, 1984: Metro Rail begins service in the Downtown Central Business District, between Auditorium and Theater Stations.1
  • May 18, 1985: Metro Rail officially opens for regular service between Downtown and Amherst Street Stations. Due to construction issues at LaSalle Station, LaSalle and South Campus stations opened later, on November 10, 1986.1
  • April 1, 1990: The NFTA had a brief shutdown due to budgeting and funding issues with state and local governments. Prior to this closure, the NFTA distributed "red" schedules for the first time, clearly giving passengers a preview of pending service cuts to the Metro System. The most severe plan had the closure of the Metro Rail line entirely, as well as all service eliminated after 7:00pm weekdays, and no service offered on Saturdays, Sundays or major holidays. Due to this alarming preview and subsequent closure, emergency funding was established by elected officials, and service resumed that Monday (April 2, 1990) without cuts to service.
  • March 24, 1993: The "New" Metro System was introduced, creating a streamlined version of the previous Metro system, increasing bus frequencies, adding a number of new routes, and new destinations not previously served by bus. With this new service, a number of branches with low ridership were eliminated, and the service was redirected to supplement the new service.
  • December 14, 1995: 17 year old Cynthia Wiggins was hit by a ten-ton dump truck after exiting a route 6-Sycamore bus, crossing a seven lane roadway (Walden Avenue) across from the Walden Galleria Mall. She died of her injuries on January 2nd, 1996. Her death sparked a number of lawsuits against the NFTA, the Pyramid Corporation (the owner of the mall) and many others, charging racial discrimination due to the inability of the NFTA to have their buses enter the mall. This lawsuit was eventually settled, in which the Pyramid Corporation paid $2 million and the dump truck driver ($250,000) to Cynthia Wiggins' four year old son. Effective with the December, 1997 schedule changes, NFTA buses were finally allowed to enter the Walden Galleria Mall, Boulevard Mall and the Eastern Hills Mall, previously not allowed by mall management.
  • December 23, 2007: NFTA Metro introduced the newly built Niagara Falls Transportation Center in the Town of Niagara, on the grounds of the Niagara Falls Outlet Mall. This resulted in a number of routing and schedule changes to all Niagara Falls routes, so that buses can take advantage of serving the new transportation center.
  • May 25, 2008: NFTA Metro implemented a new bus route (#210-Airport-Niagara Falls Express) between the Greater Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the Niagara Transit Center and Downtown Niagara Falls. Created to coincide with the start of the peak tourist season in Niagara Falls, this trip takes 50 minutes from end to end, and allows passengers to cut their travel time in at least half due to the fact that a transfer is no longer required in Downtown Buffalo from the 24-Genesee or 204-Airport Express or at Niagara and Vulcan from the 30-Kenmore bus to the infrequent 40-Grand Island bus.
  • September 5, 2008: Reminiscent of the Cynthia Wiggins lawsuit of 1995, the NFTA is banned by the owners of the Quaker Crossing shopping complex in Orchard Park. Allegations of the ban being racially motivated were denied by the mall owners, who instead cited safety concerns for pedestrians walking in the plaza. In the interim, the NFTA began operating buses over Amanda and Amelia Lanes, roadways that bisect the plaza.

Source: 1 Images of America, Buffalo's Historic Streetcars and Buses, D. David Bregger, 2008


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Model 416 & 436 from Bus Rosters on the Web
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Metro Orders New Buses, NFTA Reporter, Summer, 2009
  5. ^ Metro Orders New Buses, NFTA Reporter; Summer, 2009
  6. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  7. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  8. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  9. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  10. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  11. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  12. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport]
  13. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  14. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  15. ^ [Ohio Museum of Transport]
  16. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  17. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  18. ^ [Ohio Museum of Transport]
  19. ^ Bus Rosters on the Web
  20. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport Website
  21. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  22. ^ Bus Rosters on the Web
  23. ^ Ohio Museum of Transport
  24. ^ [3]
  25. ^ [4]
  26. ^ [5]
  27. ^ [6]
  28. ^ [7]
  29. ^ [8]
  30. ^ [9]
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Metro Rail trains undergo a rebirth", The Buffalo News; 2-16-2010, Sec. A, Page 1.

See also

External links

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