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New service levels announced for two Metro Bus routes

New service levels on two Metro Bus routes serving the Tonawandas and the Wende area have been announced by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

The NFTA conducted two public hearings to gauge response to replacing Route 57/Tonawandas with a fixed-route, flex-service pilot program and eliminating Route 27/Wende service because of low ridership.

“In each case, based on feedback we received, modifications were made to our original proposals that address the concerns expressed for each route,” said NFTA Executive Director Kimberley A. Minkel. “As a result, we now have a better product going forward.”

On Route 57 in the Tonawandas, Metro will now provide a regular but extended fixed-route schedule, coupled with curb-to-curb service for paratransit customers, according to authority spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer. One pre-scheduled flex trip (off route) to accommodate paratransit customers can be made within a three-quarter-mile radius of the fixed route. Only one flex trip will be scheduled per regular trip after customers request the service through the NFTA at 855-6399.

The expanded route will serve a Walmart Supercenter, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, two Tops Markets, Main and Niagara Metro Transit Center, housing locations, Mid-City Plaza, Niagara Falls International Airport, city halls, libraries and schools in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. Service begins Sept. 2.

For Route 27, Metro will not eliminate the route but reduce from five to three round trips to continue serving the Wende Correctional Facility and other points. The bus will now also serve Transit Road between Genesee Street and Main Street to accommodate requests of Metro commuters.

It begins Aug. 31.

Both routes will be evaluated through February 2015, Hartmayer said, as part of Metro’s annual performance review process and will be discontinued if ridership or productivity guidelines are not met.