Officials preview new people-mover
The "Discover Niagara Shuttle" will be officially open to the public next week. It will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from May 26 to Oct. 19.
The new trolley and bus system was unveiled at a press conference Friday morning outside the Niagara Power Vista. Local government, economic and tourism officials were on hand to offer remarks.
"It is very exciting that the Discover Niagara Shuttle has become a reality," Assemblyman John Ceretto said. "This is a major development for our local community, our economy, and our vibrant tourism industry. From the majestic Niagara Falls, to the historic Village of Lewiston, to Old Fort Niagara, we have so many iconic attractions and so much rich history to explore, right here in our own backyard. The shuttle will allow residents and visitors from around the world to stay longer, and experience everything our region has to offer."
The shuttle's 14 stops include Old Main Street (with a connection to the NFTA-Metro Niagara Falls trolley), the Niagara USA Visitors Center, Third and Old Falls streets, the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, the Aquarium of Niagara, the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, the Niagara Falls Amtrak train station (future site of the Underground Interpretive Center), Whirlpool State Park, Niagara University/ the Castellani Art Museum, the New York Power Project Power Vista, Lewiston's Center Street/business district, Lewiston's waterfront, the Village of Youngstown and Old Fort Niagara.
Sara Capen, Discover Niagara Shuttle project manager and executive director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, enjoys a ride on the shuttle.
Shown is one of the trolleys for the Discover Niagara Shuttle.
The inside of a trolley.
Pictured is a bus included in the Discover Niagara Shuttle system.
The Discover Niagara Shuttle fleet is comprised of two trolleys and two smaller buses, which are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and equipped with bicycle racks. Complimentary Wi-Fi provided on the shuttle will connect passengers to the new, "Discover Niagara" free mobile app (downloadable at http://www.discoverniagara.org/apps/#.Vz9RHGbB2Ud). The app shares information on the history and culture of the area and allows guests to view the location of the shuttle.
Sara Capen, project manager and executive director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, said, "The National Heritage Area is proud to be a catalyst for this shuttle service that will connect the 8 million visitors to Niagara Falls, New York, with the historic, natural and cultural assets we have throughout our communities along the Niagara River. Both the shuttle service and our visitor app, Discover Niagara, will provide visitors with the opportunity to spend more time here, and therefore making a positive economic impact in our region."
The Discover Niagara Shuttle is a two-year pilot program made possible through the collaborative efforts of tourism leaders, attractions and elected officials. For the two-year pilot, the New York Power Authority has committed $500,000; the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation provided $400,000; there's $100,000 each from Albany (via Ceretto), the National Heritage Area and Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.; and Niagara University provided $30,000.
Free tickets, required to board the shuttle, can be downloaded at www.discoverniagara.org and are available at Niagara USA Visitor Center, Aquarium of Niagara, the NACC, the Castellani Art Museum, the Niagara Power Project Power Vista, the Lewiston Welcome Center, Old Fort Niagara and area hotels in Niagara Falls and Lewiston.
For more information, visit www.discoverniagara.org or follow the Discover Niagara Shuttle on Twitter @niagarashuttle, and Facebook and Instagram (discoverniagarashuttle).
Tribune Editor Lauren Zaepfel contributed to this report.
Community officials cut the ribbon to unveil the Discover Niagara Shuttle.