|Owner||State of New York|
|Locale||Erie and Niagara Counties, New York|
|Transit type||Bus, Light rail, Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||61 bus routes|
Buffalo Metro Rail
|Number of stations||13 in use|
|Daily ridership||90,000 daily (Fourth quarter 2016)|
|Annual ridership||26,501,597 (2017)|
|Chief executive||Kimberley A. Minkel|
|Headquarters||Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center|
181 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, New York 14203
|Number of vehicles||325 buses, 27 light rail (2017)|
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) is a New York State public-benefit corporation responsible for the public transportation oversight of Erie and Niagara counties in the state of New York. The NFTA, as an authority, oversees a number of subsidiaries, including the NFTA Metro bus and rail system, the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Falls International Airport and NFTA Small Boat Harbor. The NFTA Metro bus and rail system is a multi-modal agency, utilizing various vehicle modes (diesel bus, diesel-hybrid bus, CNG bus, light rail and cut-away van), 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 a number of properties, including the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center in Downtown Buffalo (which serves as the agency's headquarters); the Niagara Falls Transportation Center on Factory Outlet Blvd.; the Portage Road Transit Center in Niagara Falls; and a number of strategically located bus loops and transit centers in the Buffalo Niagara region. Of note, many of the bus loops have been in continuous operation since the days of the International Railway Company, a predecessor to the NFTA. Agency-wide, the NFTA employs 1,500 full-time and part-time employees. There are three business centers that operate as the NFTA organization: Surface Transportation, which handles ground transportation throughout Erie and Niagara counties, Aviation, which handles air related business at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and Niagara Falls International Airport and Property Risk/Management, which operates the NFTA-Boat Harbor and handles other properties that are owned and/or operated by the NFTA.
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 Regional Transportation Authority (Centro) and the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA). In 1974, the NFTA purchased the street transportation rights from a number of other agencies, starting with the Niagara Falls Municipal Transit System on September 8, D&F (Dunkirk and Fredonia) Transit on September 15, T-NT (Tonawanda-North Tonawanda) Transit on October 7, Lockport Bus Lines on March 15, 1975 and Grand Island Transit on April 20, 1975. Administrative offices and buses were housed in the former Niagara Frontier Transit Buildings at 855 Main Street (which is now Buffalo Manufacturing Works) until 1977, at which point the offices were moved to the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center.
The NFTA's operations are overseen by a 12-member Board of Commissioners that the Executive Director reports to. The members are nominated by the Governor of the State of New York, with two chosen by the Erie County Executive. Most appointments are for five-year terms, but some commissioners have been appointed partway into a term, replacing a previous commissioner. The current executive director is Kimberley A. Minkel, who previously served as the Director of Health, Safety and Environmental Quality; Minkel will also carry the recognition as the NFTA's first female executive director. In 2017, the NFTA had operating expenses of $253.57 million, an outstanding debt of $133.57 million and a staffing level of 1,714 people.
|Name||Title||Term began||Current term ends||Recommended by||Notes|
|Sister Denise A. Roche||Chair||June 17, 2016||June 30, 2021||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|Peter G. Demakos||Vice-Chairman||June 13, 2000||June 30, 2018||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|Bonita R. Durand||Treasurer||June 14, 2012||June 30, 2014||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|Charles L. Gurney||Secretary||June 14, 2012||June 30, 2017||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|LaVonne E. Ansari, Ph.D.||-||June 20, 2013||June 30, 2016||Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz|
|Joan G. Aul||-||June 17, 2016||June 30, 2020||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|Anthony J. Baynes||-||June 20, 2013||June 30, 2018||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|Margo Dawn Downey||-||June 20, 2013||June 30, 2017||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
|Dr. Wesley L. Hicks Jr.||-||June 17, 2013||June 30, 2016||Erie County Legislature|
|Michael P. Hughes, MBA||-||December 15, 2008||June 30, 2018||Governor David Paterson|
|Adam W. Perry||-||January 29, 2008||June 30, 2017||Governor Eliot Spitzer|
|Philip G. Wilcox||-||June 14, 2012||June 30, 2014||Governor Andrew Cuomo|
NFTA's Metro system serves the highly urbanized areas of Erie and Niagara counties with service throughout the day and selected suburban and rural areas of Erie and Niagara counties. The cities receiving service include Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Lackawanna, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. Service to less populated areas during prime ridership hours extend to Alden, Amherst, Boston, Cheektowaga, Grand Island, Hamburg, Lancaster, Elma, Evans, Orchard Park, Tonawanda (Township), East Aurora and West Seneca in Erie County; Cambria, Lewiston, Niagara, Pendleton and Wheatfield in Niagara County.
The NFTA inherited a large number of General Motors New Look buses from the private carriers that were absorbed into the agency. In addition, a small fleet of Highway Products' Twin Coaches and Mack buses that were nearing the end of their life span were also added to the fleet. The first major purchase of new buses by the NFTA began in 1975 with AM General's "Metropolitan" series buses. These buses were later withdrawn from service in 1987 due to severe structural issues. To address this immediate shortage of buses, the NFTA purchased a number of recently mothballed GMC buses from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (DART), Flxible buses from Rochester's Regional Transit Service and General Motors New Looks from Broome County Transit (BC Transit) of Binghamton. This temporary arrangement filled most of the gap left by the removal of the AM General buses. The next major purchase of new buses came from GMC, in their RTS-II Series. These buses were purchased between 1978 and 1983. As mentioned earlier, in 1987, due to the premature retirement of the AM General buses, the NFTA purchased a number of used, earlier series RTS series buses from Dallas' DART system. These buses provided comfortable padded seats, normally not seen on standard NFTA transit coaches. These buses operated for a number of years and were a deal to the NFTA in that the coach bodies previously did not experience earlier damage from road salt, sometimes referred to as "salt-free" miles, extending their usefulness a number of years because of the frames having a later start being introduced to corrosion from road salt. In 1985, the NFTA purchased seven new suburban-configuration buses from Orion Bus Industries (OBI) to begin replacing the older inherited GMC buses from previously private agencies. This purchase marked the last purchase of non-lift equipped buses, and the first non-American purchase of new buses. Over the next seven years, OBI received additional orders of buses from the NFTA with purchases of two different models, the Orion I series and the Orion V, which the NFTA later purchased in 1993 as their first natural gas powered buses. In 1992 and 1994, the NFTA purchased from two manufacturers, new to the NFTA; Motor Coach Industries, in their Classic series of transit coaches and New Flyer Industries, in their D40 series. In 1995, a third manufacturer was added, with North American Bus Industries/American Ikarus in their 416 series transit bus.
The NFTA operates a fleet of approximately 310 transit buses (all of which are low-floor, wheelchair-accessible and ADA compliant), 64 paratransit and Metrolink cutaway vans and 27 light rail cars, all operating up to 22 hours daily on 78 distinct routes. The bus fleet contains buses purchased from manufacturers such as Nova Bus in their LFS transit bus (in both standard diesel and Compressed Natural Gas options) and Gillig in their Advantage transit bus (later recognized as their low floor T40 series, in standard diesel and diesel/electric hybrid options). The distribution of buses are split between three bus depots: Gisel-Wolford (also known as Babcock-William), located at 721 New Babcock Street (at Howard Street), Cold Spring (also known as Main-Michigan), located at 1581 Michigan Avenue (at Main Street), both on the east side of Buffalo, and Frontier (also known as Kenmore-Military), located at 1000 Military Road (at Kenmore Avenue) on the Buffalo-Kenmore border. The light rail fleet operates from the DL&W terminal on South Park Avenue behind the KeyBank Center in Buffalo's Cobblestone District.
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. The routes follow a certain numbering schematic.
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, however, but passengers can expect to see at least major transfer points and busy intersections. When boarding a bus or light rail car, the rider should note the following:
The NFTA's original "Hublink" concept, now renamed "MetroLink," created a network of routes (numbered in the 200 and 300 series range) linking multiple transit centers together, using cutaway vans. A minimum service standard was created, where buses were to operate on a frequent schedule through the day, moving passengers across the region. Additionally, circulatory routes were to be created linking passengers with community-based services for a number of high-density areas that cannot support normal city bus transit service. Though refined from the earlier plans, some routes came to reality. Routes 200 and 201 were the first two routes; route 200 North Tonawanda-Wheatfield operating across the width of the City of North Tonawanda to get to Creekside Park and Ride lot and then Niagara Falls Boulevard to Niagara Falls International Airport and route 201 Lockport serving the City of Lockport on a circulatory route serving the Lockport Memorial Hospital, the senior citizens center and Downtown Lockport. Both routes were also scheduled to connect to conventional service routes at their end terminals or transit centers they arrive at along the route.
In the middle part of 2009, the NFTA hired Transportation Management and Design, Inc. to begin a "Transit Service Restructuring and Fare Study," that would involve some of the largest changes that the riding public has seen since March 24, 1993, when the NFTA's "New" Metro system was introduced. Some of the new proposals included reducing the number of fare zones to a single zone and creating a uniform boarding fare without additional fees for crossing particular fare zone lines, elimination of bus-to-bus transfers and modifying the pricing of cash fares, monthly and daily passes. The proposals were passed and went into effect effective September 1, 2010. On the scheduling side, more emphasis would be taken on urban services, primarily within the City of Buffalo. Service on primary corridors, such as those serving densely patronized routes could find an increase in service levels during non-peak hours, promoting spontaneous usage. Lightly patronized routes were reduced to fit ridership statistics and allow the agency to more effectively use the buses on heavier patronized routes. In addition, weekend service was improved significantly on many city routes with Sunday service nearly tripled on certain portions of some routes. Approval of the plan was reached between TMD, Inc. and the NFTA executive board in late June 2010 and the changes were implemented with a special later autumn schedule change on October 31, 2010. In the following two months until the next scheduled schedule change, the NFTA Metro service planning department made minor tweaks to the schedules, based on driver input, customer complaints and other sources, most notably adding services where necessary due to excessive passenger loads. With these changes, NFTA Metro lessened the impact during the next schedule change in December, since major problems were dealt with in a more timely manner.
On September 26, 2011, the NFTA reported that the agency could face as much as a $15 million shortfall in funding due to cuts in funding at the state level. Facing a directive to cut into the deficit created, the NFTA considered a fare hike, in addition to a number of service cuts to routes with low usage. Four days later, on September 30, patrons of the system came back crying 'foul,' demanding retaining the present service levels and fares. The following month, the NFTA lobbied the state to return $10 million in cuts previously made. In December 2011, the NFTA held a number of public hearings regarding a fare increase that was quickly met with hostility from the riding public. On December 7, the NFTA rejected the fare hike, and focused on a severe reduction (22%) to bus service that would effective eliminate express bus services, gut bus services to Niagara County and reduce and eliminate hours and days of operation on a number of bus services. Again, public hearings were held and met with the same hostility as the fare cut proposal. On January 19, 2012, the NFTA was assured of a return of $2.9 million to reduce some of the service cuts the NFTA had planned. A final hearing brought a plan to lessen the impact of the previous number of service cuts and raise the adult fare by 25 cents, with small increases to other Metro fare plans. The board approved the plan to make the changes in late March, to take effect on April 29 (bus and rail modifications) and May 1 for fare increases. The NFTA plans to monitor many of the routes over the months following to find efficiencies in potential changes.
In the January 24, 2013 edition of The Buffalo News, the NFTA was reported to be in the planning stages of adding what is essentially bus rapid transit to its route 5 Niagara Kenmore corridor. Plans include transforming the corridor into an efficient limited-stop corridor that would remove a number of minutes from the time between the Downtown Buffalo area and the Riverside community near the city line. Some of the plans are said to include signal prioritization, modern electronic signage showing the time for the next due bus, creating a new transit center in Riverside that would connect a number of routes into one location, including a park-and-ride lot at the transit center and new natural-gas powered buses that would be used on the line. The success of this project would eventually open the doors to other key corridors being switched to bus rapid transit over time. In addition, the project aims to also improve the reliability and timeliness of the buses. The program is expected to be funded by the following ratio: 80% from grants offered by the Federal government and the rest by both the NFTA and New York State. Although the project was approved, once the Federal government "obligates" the money to the NFTA, construction can begin. The NFTA was hoping to have groundbreaking begin in April 2014.
Although the NFTA has previously offered service into the region's airports, it has made further efforts to improve these services to passengers arriving and departing. The region's primary commercial airport, the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, connects with NFTA-Metro services on a number of bus routes: 24 Genesee, 27 Erie County Home, 47 Youngs Road, 68 George Urban Express and 204 Airport/Downtown Express, while the Niagara Falls International Airport serves a number of charter airlines and is served by routes 55 Pine Avenue and 57 Tonawandas.
The Buffalo-Niagara region has three Amtrak stations, two of which are located in Erie County and the third located in Niagara County. The Depew Station, located on Dick Road in the village of Depew, New York, is served weekdays only by route 46 Lancaster. Of all regional stations, this is the only station that serves the Lake Shore Limited train, to and from Chicago. The Exchange Street Station, located on Exchange Street, is a short walk from the Metro Rail and a number of other bus routes that serve Washington Street. A disadvantage of the station, however, is its limited hours, necessitating passengers to wait outside for arriving and departing trains. Of the three region's stations, this station is the only one to receive public transportation service daily. The Niagara Falls Station and Customhouse Interpretive Center, near the corner of Main Street and Depot Avenue West in Niagara Falls, is served weekdays and Saturdays only by route 50 Main-Niagara.
Most buses that service Downtown Buffalo operate within a couple of blocks from the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center, located at the northeast corner of Ellicott and North Division Streets. The BMTC hosts bus services operated by Greyhound, Coach USA, Coach Canada, Megabus, various Trailways franchisees and Lakefront Lines. The BMTC also houses at one of its gates, the starting point of routes 40 Grand Island and 60 Niagara Falls buses, operated by the NFTA.
Upon the elimination of service on route 201 serving Lockport, the NFTA made arrangements to advertise alternate service operated by Rural Niagara Transit within the city of Lockport. The replaced service, with lesser trips offered, served a similar service area and would allow residents of Lockport (off the route 44 Lockport) continued service. Rural Niagara Transit operates out of its primary hub at Niagara County Community College and spreads throughout the Niagara County area with connections between buses at the college three times daily. The service in Lockport is part of slightly modified service on the NCCC-Olcott and NCCC-Middleport routes.
|Full Fare[a]||Reduced Fare[b]||Availability|
|Standard Fare[c]||$2||$1||Onboard vehicle||TVM|
|7 Day Pass[e]||$25||$12.50|
|30 Day Pass[f]||$75||$37.50|
|Monthly Pass[g]||Online||Retail outlets[h]|
|PAL Pass[i]||10 trips||$35||-||Online|
|Summer Go Pass[j]||$60||-||Online||Retail outlets[h]|
The NFTA operates on an "exact fare" system, in which passengers are responsible for having the exact fare ready or proof-of-payment upon boarding a Metro vehicle. Drivers and operators do not make change; however, vending machines are able to make change for customers in coins. Passengers can pay boarding fares on buses in coins, tokens or bills using Genfare "Odyssey" fareboxes, while passengers using the Metro Rail light rail line pay for their boarding fares using farecard vending machines located at each station. Rail ticket vending machines at one time were able to accept credit cards for fare payment, however, this practice was discontinued. There are presently seven fare categories. Previously, transfers were allowed between immediately connecting lines for a lesser charge than full-fare (with the exception being between bus and rail and vice versa). This practice was permanently discontinued on May 1, 2012, at which point passengers are required to pay a boarding fare upon each boarding or get a pass.
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 Metro regularly scheduled service. Erie Community College was the at the forefront of this service and originally provided students a shuttle service linking the three campuses through the City 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. Later, a Metrolink shuttle service operates on a similar plan, assigned route 211 ECC Circulator, but that route has since been eliminated and replaced with ECC's own tri-campus shuttle. Buffalo State College is another large college participating in the Unlimited Access program. At the start, the NFTA had operated three circulator routes, one (assigned route 206 Buffalo State College Circulator) primarily served the college grounds, in addition to two grocery stores near the college; Tops Friendly Markets at Grant Street and Amherst Street and Wegmans on Amherst Street and two additional routes (assigned routes 207 Elmwood Circulator and 208 Grant Circulator) circulating over the same route as Route 206, with service extended over Elmwood Avenue on route 207 and Grant Street on route 208. Due to route duplication on both the 20 Elmwood and 3 Grant bus routes, routes 207 and 208 were eliminated, while route 206 was eliminated as of September 2, 2018.
Other colleges and universities that are presently included in the program are:
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, 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 20, 1985. As of February 18, 2013, there are currently 13 stations on the 6.4-mile (10.3-km) Metro Rail line, with five above-ground and eight underground: Erie Canal Harbor, Seneca, Church, Lafayette Square, Fountain Plaza, Allen/Medical Campus, Summer-Best, Utica, Delavan/Canisius College, Humboldt-Hospital, Amherst Street, LaSalle and University. Prior to that date, there were 14 stations on the Metro Rail line, including six above-ground, as Theater Station was included in the count. An additional station, called "Special Events" Station, sits just south of the Erie Canal Harbor Station and allows passengers a shorter walk to the KeyBank Center. This station is only served during major events, such as hockey, concerts and sports related functions, such as WWE pay-per-views.
The Citizens Regional Transit Corporation (CRTC) has continuously lobbied local and state politicians to provide funding or support for extensions to the 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, Walden Galleria Mall and Buffalo-Niagara International 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 would have 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). The extension to North Campus is currently undergoing a study by the local government, having secured funding in recent years. In addition, local officials are considering redeveloping the NFTA Rail Maintenance Yard into a multi-modal transportation center.
Two rail cars (fleet numbers 114 and 123) were shipped to Dansville, NY in February 2010, where AnsaldoBreda Inc., a unit of AnsaldoBreda S.p.A of Italy, has been making wholesale improvements to the cars, each receiving a top-to-bottom $1.5 million transformation and were returned to full revenue service on March 9, 2012, nearly two years behind schedule. In the seven years since, 20 more cars (fleet numbers 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 108, 110, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 119, 120, 122, 124, 125 and 126) were all refurbished and have returned to full revenue service as of September 30, 2019. Among the items being refurbished, passengers will experience new seating, stanchions, electronic signage and new audio systems, similar to the train service at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. 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.
The current color scheme (navy, light-gray and gray) first appeared on the 2000 series (Nova Bus LFS) coaches in early 2000. 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 yellow, orange and brown, referred to as "earth tone" or "candy corn." As of March 1, 2018, this color scheme can only be found on one Metro Rail car (fleet number 107), but it is expected that this car will eventually be painted in the newer livery during its mid-life overhaul being performed. Prior to 1984, the Niagara Frontier Transit Metro System had painted their fleet with a yellow and black scheme (during the 1970s), similar to that of the Pittsburgh Steelers' football uniform colors, the Pittsburgh Penguins' hockey uniform colors and the Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball uniform colors and maintained the red and cream color scheme used by the Niagara Frontier Transit System (1950-1960s). The International Railway Company, the predecessor to the Niagara Frontier Transportation System used either an orange and cream 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 a variation of "Helvetica" in the italicized version. This style is present on all NFTA correspondence, including the NFTA Metro Bus and Rail system, the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Falls International Airport and the NFTA Small Boat Harbor, among others.
The NFTA Properties Division is charged with management of the facilities owned and operated in the NFTA organization. Properties include numerous bus loops and suburban transit centers, the Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center (MTC), the Niagara Falls Transportation Center in the Town of Niagara, a number of NFTA related office buildings and bus maintenance facilities (garages).
All buses are stored at three maintenance facilities (terminals):
Most buses operating to the city centers operate to or near:
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.
Buffalo Metro Rail
These stations utilize curbside bus boarding on surrounding streets.
Many loops serving as layover facilities 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 (circa 1950) and ultimately, the NFTA (circa around 1972).
The NFTA recognizes and negotiates with a number of unions representing various employees of the NFTA. As of 2008, there are 13 different unions that negotiate contracts with the NFTA. The largest of these, the Amalgamated Transit Union, represents the drivers of the NFTA Metro division. Their branch is known as Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1342. Another union, the International Longshoremen's Association, represents service and maintenance workers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Falls International Airport, Port of Buffalo, Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center, Operations Center in Buffalo, Facilities Maintenance Center, and the Niagara Falls Transportation Center. Their branch is known as the International Longshoremen's Association, Local 1949. The members of the NFTA Police force are represented by the NFTA Police Benevolent Association.
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The agreements mean that all 13 NFTA unions are under contract.