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Mass transit is essential for Niagara Falls tourism

In the Sept. 22 edition of The News, two items appeared relating to tourism in Niagara Falls. One was a letter in which the writer bemoaned tourists who said that there was nothing to do in the Falls and what was there was too far away, and the other was an Another Voice by Howard Zemsky noting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has deemed tourism in the area a priority.

The letter writer compared the distance between tourist attractions in New York City and those in Niagara Falls. But there is one glaring difference – New York has a viable mass transit system, something Niagara Falls is sorely lacking. If Cuomo feels tourism is important to the area, then a useful mass transit system is a must.

Zemsky said that Niagara Falls has 8 million visitors each year. Many of those visitors do not drive in their homelands in Europe and Asia – they use the transit system. Obviously they aren’t going to drive when they go on a holiday to the Falls. And who in his right mind is going to pay $40 each way for cab fare to and from the Old Fort?

Currently the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has “streamlined” its Niagara Falls service to the point where there is no service on Third Street between Niagara and Main after 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night! That is an area with restaurants and so forth where visitors can enjoy an evening of food and entertainment. For the buses that do run – and they only run every two hours after 6 p.m. on weekdays – some of them are a bit confusing for residents who use them on a regular basis. How are visitors with a limited knowledge of English supposed to navigate the system?

Yes, there are things to do in and around Niagara Falls, but when you can’t get there from here, what does it matter?

Sherrill Fulghum

Niagara Falls