- Buffalo Metro Rail
Metro Rail Info Locale Buffalo, New York Transit type Light rail Number of lines 1 Number of stations 15 Daily ridership 23,200 (avg. weekday, FY 2008) Operation Began operation 1985 Operator(s) Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Technical Track gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge) Electrification Overhead lines 650 V DC
Buffalo Metro Rail is the public transit rail system in Buffalo, New York, USA; it is operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). The system consists of a single, 6.4-mile (10.3 km) long line that runs for most of the length of Main Street in the City of Buffalo, from First Niagara Center in Downtown Buffalo to the south campus of the University at Buffalo in the northeast corner of the city.
- 1 Transit type
- 2 History
- 3 Operations and practical information
- 4 Stations and points of interest
- 5 Rolling stock
- 6 Plans for expansion
- 7 Annual ridership
- 8 Gallery
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Along 80 percent of its track(5.2 miles (8.4 km)), it operates in a high-speed underground subway environment with high-level platforms. The remaining 20 percent of the alignment (1.2 miles (1.9 km)) is on the surface in a dedicated transit mall separated from automobile traffic with low-level platforms (mini-high level platforms provide handicapped access to one door per train at the south end of each station). Trains in the downtown transit mall do interact with automobile traffic at cross streets, where movements are governed by non-vital traffic signals.
Metro Rail operates electric multiple-unit light rail vehicles (LRVs) in two-to-four car trains with power drawn from an overhead catenary system. The Buffalo trains and SEPTA in Philadelphia are the only modern rigid-body (non-articulated) LRVs operating in North America.
When the construction on Metro Rail began in 1978, it was intended to be the first line for an extensive system that would spread throughout the city and suburbs. However, during the construction of the line and afterward, Buffalo's population declined significantly (by approximately 55%, from around 580,000 in 1950 to about 261,000 in 2010), and the new line's ridership was much lower than originally anticipated. The cost of the urban section was so high that no funding was available to extend the lines into the suburbs, including the Amherst campus of the University at Buffalo. Efforts to obtain funding for feeder lines have met with little success.
The downtown business district
The construction of the pedestrian mall along Main Street downtown coincided with the decentralization of the region's population and retail market. Like many other cities in the Northeast U.S., suburban shopping malls were being developed closer to regional population growth and regional wealth. This shift in retail concentration and regional wealth resulted in downtown Buffalo losing many of its long-time anchor department stores and smaller shops to suburban malls and strip plazas. It was these retailers that originally served as some of the major traffic generators for Metro Rail. Overall, the area's economic health declined in the 1980s, reducing the potential passengers and the tax base available to fund the system.
The city of Buffalo is planning to reintroduce cars onto Main Street in a shared trackbed/roadway. Curb parking lanes will be provided for short-term visitors. The project started in 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2011.
Operations and practical information
Metro Rail runs daily; weekdays from approximately 5:10 a.m. to 12:50 a.m., Saturdays from 7:05 a.m. to 12:50 a.m., Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m (although bus service is available until approximately 12:30 a.m. in the same area). Trains run as often as once every ten minutes at rush hour, and generally no less often than once every twenty minutes. A one-way ticket is $1.75. An all-day pass costs $4.00, which allows users of the pass unlimited rides covering the entire rail and bus system for the service day. Monthly passes are also available, either by a calendar month, or by a continuous 30-day period.
In September 2008, the NFTA began an earlier starting time to the weekday schedule in response to an 11% increase in ridership over eight months of growth. In July 2008, the authority claimed the passenger count "...eclipsed the July 2007 tally by 23 percent".
Fares are collected through a proof-of-payment (POP) system (sometimes erroneously referred to as an "honor system"). Tickets are checked periodically by roving NFTA ticket inspectors and occasionally by transit police on trains and in stations. Travel on the above-ground portion of the system is free (zero-fare public transport), though ticket machines are available at outbound above-ground stations for passengers continuing on to stations in the subway portion of the line. If a rider does not possess a valid proof-of-payment, a citation may be issued similar to a traffic ticket and a penalty may be imposed if the court finds a passenger guilty of non-payment.
A normal one-way trip takes 22 minutes from end to end, though it may be faster nights, weekends and holidays.
Metro Rail and Metro Bus schedules are posted at the NFTA Metro Website.
Stations and points of interest
Station Points of Interest University University at Buffalo South Campus LaSalle Amherst Street Buffalo Zoo, Delaware Park, Parkside Neighborhood Humboldt-Hospital Canisius College, Sisters Hospital, Medaille College, Delaware Park Delavan/Canisius College Canisius College: (Koessler Center, Athletics), Record Theatre Utica Summer-Best Allen/Medical Campus Anchor Bar (birthplace of the Buffalo-style chicken wing), Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Allentown district Theater Shea's Performing Arts Center and the Buffalo Theatre District Fountain Plaza Chippewa Entertainment District Lafayette Square Buffalo Convention Center, Buffalo City Hall, Buffalo Central Library Church Buffalo Transportation Center, Downtown Farmers Market, Erie Community College-City Campus, Main Place Mall & Tower Seneca Coca-Cola Field, One HSBC Center Erie Canal Harbor First Niagara Center, Buffalo Downtown Waterfront Special Events First Niagara Center (Trains only travel to and from Special Events station to service events at the Arena; at all other times Erie Canal Harbor station is the southern terminal.)
Buffalo Light Rail Vehicle Configuration 2- to 4-car trains Length 66 ft 10 in (20,371 mm) Width 8 ft 6.5 in (2,604 mm) Tare 35.5 short tons (32.2 t) Passenger capacity 140 (51 seated) Rail gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
Power supply 650 VDC Manufacturer Tokyu Car Corporation Note Fleet Numbers: 101-127
Fleet size: 26
Control: 4 chopper-controlled Westinghouse motors
Car body type: double-ended, non-articulated