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BLUE AND GRAY, WITH SPLASH OF RED, SELECTED AS NEW COLORS FOR METRO BUS, RAIL FLEET

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has picked a new blue-and-gray logo -- with stripes to match -- to adorn its white Metro buses.

A splash of red also will be seen on the system's vehicles.

The new logo and colors will appear on 21 new buses that are being added to the Metro fleet by year's end.

Over time, the new color scheme will be put on the entire fleet of buses and Metro Rail cars as well as on bus stop signs, shelters and rail stations.

"The colors we chose will stand the test of time," said Lawrence Meckler, NFTA executive director. "We didn't want to pick a color that's trendy today but out of fashion in a couple of years."

Several other color combinations had been considered, including sky blue and teal.

NFTA administrators first proposed a combination of royal blue and teal a couple of months ago, but many of the NFTA commissioners wanted the new Metro colors to resemble the colors of the NFTA and Buffalo Niagara International Airport logos, which are blue and gray.

Commissioner Mary S. Martino said the vinyl emblems to be attached to the buses and rail cars will have a metallic look, so the color scheme will more closely resemble blue and silver.

Red emerged as a popular choice of color among many transit riders, employees and members of the public who contacted NFTA officials. So the word "Metro" will appear in red letters on the sides of buses and rail cars.

Ms. Martino and other commissioners contend people would more readily recognize the NFTA as the community's prime transportation provider if the bus fleet adopted the same colors as the airport.

The buses and rail cars also will include a new phrase next to the word Metro: "Serving the Niagara Region."

The Buffalo News surveyed 125 Metro passengers last month and found that 31 percent of them preferred red to go with the royal blue for a new Metro color scheme, while 27 percent picked the teal, and 24 percent picked the sky blue.

The royal blue and gray color scheme picked Monday by the commissioners finished last among the bus riders, picking up support from only 22 of the 125 passengers -- or 18 percent.

The NFTA did not have enough time to conduct a public opinion survey or form focus groups among bus riders, Meckler said.

The manufacturer of Metro's new buses needs NFTA's color preferences soon, he said.

The buses with the brown, orange and yellow stripes won't disappear from the streets anytime soon. Putting the new colors on the entire fleet, as the vehicles come in for major maintenance work or are retired from service, could take three to five years.

The work will not be cheap. Converting to the new colors could cost as much as a quarter of a million dollars in labor and materials, the NFTA estimates.

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