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The Union Bus Terminal

NIAGARA FRONTIER TRANSIT METRO SYSTEM
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Here you will learn about how the Metrobus system was put together and evolved into the two-county bus system of today.Seven companies using a motley collection of buses including highway cruisers, suburban coaches, transit buses, and even converted school buses were melded into a unified system whose bus fleet eventually became standardized.

During the early 1970s, as the Niagara Frontier Transit System,Inc. was in declining financial help as were a number of other bus companies providing service in and out of Buffalo, discussion and planning began for a unified bus system that would better serve the needs of riders in Erie and Niagara counties of Western New York State. Besides the NFT, the other companies involved were T-NT Transit Company,which served the Tonawandas, Lockport Bus Lines, which operated between Buffalo and Lockport, plus Lockport-Barker-Olcott, as well as within Lockport itself,Grand Island Transit Corporation, which was interested in selling its Buffalo-Grand Island Niagara Falls route,D&F Transit, which wanted to rid itself of the Buffalo-Angola-Lotus Bay commuter service and concentrate on its other line runs and charter and tour service, Niagara Scenic Bus Lines, which wanted out of the airport shuttle business, and the Niagara Falls Municipal Transit Commission. All of these companies operated a mishmash of equipment which was aging, and some of which was becoming unreliable, many of the buses of which had manual shift transmissions. Of these companies, Lockport Bus Lines, Inc. appeared to be in the worst shape, both physically and financially, since nearly all of its buses dated back to the 1950s. Its newest buses were a pair of 1961 GMC PD4106s purchased from Greyhound in the mid 1970s. Most of its fleet consisted of GMC PD4104 highway cruisers and also had a couple of older PD4103s, both of which were long out of service and being cannabalized for parts to keep the 4104s running. For Lockport city service, a fleet of GMC 'old look transit buses, some converted from gasoline to diesel power, held down the Lockport city route. T-NT Transit, in the Tonawandas got by with several converted school buses to provide local service between the Tonawandas. In Niagara Falls, the city bus fleet consisted of GMC 'old look' buses, all of which were built in 1965, and 25 'New Look' buses, all delivered in 1968, making this the nearest thing to a standardized fleet. In Buffalo, the NFT still had 60 Macks in service, all of which had Mack's "new look" styling and were the last of what had once been a fleet of Mack buses numering in several hundred. In addition, 40 buses inherited from the Buffalo Transit Company in a 1961 acquisition and eventual merger, were still in service. It was in 1974 that the first acquisitions by the NFTA were made,starting with the NFT of which NFTA assumed operation in the fall of that year, followed by D&F Transit's Buffalo-Angola-Lotus Bay route, with which came five GMC PD4106 highway cruisers, all of about 1964-65 vintage, and the total acquisition of T-NT Transit Company of the Tonawandas shortly thereafter. NFT Metro soon got rid of the school buses that T_NT Transit Company had been using,and continued to use D&F Transit's cruiser buses for several years, when new equipment began to arrive. The Niagara Falls operation saw the first Metrobus timetables issued on September 8,1974 and the same time as the former NFT in Buffalo. These were followed by D&F Transit's Buffalo-Angola-Lotus Bay line's new timetable a week later.















T-NT Transit Company of the Tonawanda's did not come into the Metrobus fold with a new timetable until October 7,1974. Now that these four companies had portions or all of their route structures under the NFT Metro fold, this left Grand Island Transit and Lockport Bus Lines to be delt with. Grand Island's Buffalo-Grand Island-Niagara Falls route was essential to linking the Buffalo and Niagara Falls bus operations together. The first Metro timetable for Lockport Bus Lines Lockport-Buffalo line was issued on March 15,1975 followed by a new timetable for the Buffalo-Niagara Falls route on April 20,1975, thus completing the assembly of the Metrobus system.







INITIAL BUS ROSTER-1975







GMC SDM5302 1967 49 seats 104 1 bus GIT







GMC S8M5303A 1970 49 seats 114 1 bus GIT







GMC SDM4501 1960 45 seats 166 & 168 2 buses,GIT







GMC TDH3714 1958 37 seats 228 1 bus, LBL







GMC TGH3102 1958 31 seats 223,229 2 buses LBL







GMC PD4104 1957-59 39,41 sts. 233-235 3 buses,LBL







GMC PD4104 1957-59 41 seats 240-241 2 buses,LBL







GMc PD4104 1957-59 41 seats 243-248 6 buses,LBL







GMC PD4106 1964-65 41,39 sts.251-255 5 buses,D&F







GMC TDH5106 1958-59 51 seats 600-629 30 buses,BTC







GMC TDH5302 1960 53 seats 700-709 10 buses,BTC







Mack C49DT 1957 49 seats 6200-6244 44 buses,NFT







Mack C49DT 1958-59 49 Seats 6300-6359 60 buses,NFT







GMC TDH5106 1958 51 seats 7001-7059 59 buses,NFT







GMC TDH5301 1960-61 49 seats 7400-7489 90 buses,NFT







GMC TDH5304 1963 53 seats 7500-7549 50 buses,NFT







GMC TDH5304 1964 53 seats 7550-7599 50 buses,NFT







GMC TDH5304 1966 53 seats 7600-7684 85 buses,NFT







GMC TDH5304 1967 53 seats 7685-7744 60 buses,NFT







GMC T6H5304 1968 53 seats 7745-7794 50 buses,NFT







GMC TDH3501 1965 35 seats, 1-25, 25 buses,NFMTC







GMC T6H4521 1968 45 seats 26-40 15 buses,NFMTC







Total number of buses in service in 1975: 653. Of these,







20 buses were equipped with 4 speed Spicer manual







transmissions, all of which were highway cruiser and







suburban type buses. This consisted of 16 cruisers, 4







suburbans. By 1977, Nos. 104 and 114 were changed to







automatic transmissions. All other cruisers and suburbans







were retired. None of TNT Transit Company's buses were







retained for use by Metrobus.



The following routes were in operation in 1976, the first full year of integrated Metrobus operation:



1-William



2-Clinton



3-Grant



4-Broadway



5-Niagara



6-Sycamore



7-Baynes-Richmond



8-Main



9-Parkside-Zoo



10-West Utica



11-Colvin



12-East Utica



13-Kensington



14-Abbott



15-Seneca



16-South Park



17-Central Terminal



18-Jefferson



19-Bailey



20-Elmwood



21-Michigan-Forest



22-Porter-Best



23-Fillmore-Hertel



24-Genesee



25-Delaware



26-Delavan



27-Ridge Road-Lackawanna



28A-Sheridan Drive Shuttle



29-Wohlers



30-Kenmore-River Road



31-South Buffalo



32-Amherst



33-Tonawanda-North Tonawanda



35-Hamburg-Abbott



36-Hamburg-South Park



37-Boston via Camp



38-Angola-Lotus Bay



40-Grand Island-Niagara Falls



44-Buffalo-Lockport



50-University (Niagara Falls,NY)



51-Niagara-Pierce (Niagara Falls,NY)



52-Ontario



53-Lewiston



55-Pine Avenue



58-Lockport City



Routes 4,8,13,15, and 24 used at least two timetables



to cover these routes due to the number of branches.



NFTA now had five divisions, to which were assigned the following routes:



Broadway-Bailey(Giesel-Wolford) Lockport



Routes 1,2,4,6,14,15,16,19,24 Route 58 only



27,31,35,36,37,38.



Cold Spring Division



Routes 7,8,9,10,12,13,17,18,



21,22,23,26,32,40,44



Frontier Division



Routes 3,5,11,20,25,30,33



Some Route 23 buses also operated from this division.



Niagara Falls



Routes 50,51,52,53,55.

ROUTE RESTRUCTURINGS: In Niagara Falls, routes 50,51 and 53have since been combined, while routes 52 and 55 remained as they were. In the Tonawandas, Route 33 was abolished and part of it combined with Route 25 Delaware, while Route 56 River Road picked up the rest. Gone from the route list of 1976 are 17-Central Terminal,9-Parkside-Zoo, 21-Michigan-Forest(portion combined with 8-Main),28A Sheridan Drive Shuttle, 27-Ridge Road-Lackawanna, 31-Ogden,South Buffalo (both of these were combined forming 42-Lackawanna). 38 Angola-Lotus Bay has been redesignated Route 76 Angola-Lotus Bay Express and Route 37 Boston via Camp has been redesignated Route 74. Other express runs have their own route numbers, since these Thruway Express runs were once part of a regular route's schedule, have been segregated from the locals. 48-Williamsville, formerly 8-Main-Williamsville-North Bailey Meadows, is a good example of this. Express runs have the route number 66.
EXPRESS ROUTES
60-Niagara Falls (Grand Island Transit)
61-North Tonawanda (NFT)
62-Parker (NFT)
63 Riverside (NFT)
64 Lockport (Lockport Bus Lines,Inc.)
65-Amherst (Buffalo Transit Company)
66-Williamsville (Buffalo Transit Company)
67-Cleveland Hill (Buffalo Transit Company)
68-George Urban (Buffalo Transit Company)
69-Alden (Buffalo Transit Company)
70-East Aurora (Buffalo Transit Company)
72-Orchard Park (Buffalo Transit Company)
74-Boston (Buffalo Transit Company)
76-Lotus Bay (D&F Transit)
79-Tonawanda
81-East Side
Many of these express routes are descendents of routes originally operated by the Buffalo Transit Company, which served most of the suburbs surrounding the city of Buffalo.

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