NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The sun is just peaking over the eastern horizon as Mike, the shuttle driver, pulls up outside of the stop in downtown Niagara Falls. His friendly face welcomes riders aboard the bus which takes them from the Falls to the Fort – showcasing historical assets.
“All the places on here depict our heritage, depict history, culture of communities, wonderful local communities on the way,” said Sara Capen, the executive director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.
She says people from all over – from the Buffalo-Niagara region to countries around the world — ride the shuttle.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are; it doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here all your life, there is always something new to learn,” said Capen.
Capen says many people have been talking about increasing access to cultural assets in the community for years. The plan came to fruition last year, attracting more than 30,000 riders the first season and it’s on route to attracting more than 40,000 this year.
“It’s really a collaboration where we all have a piece in it,” said Capen.
The stops include sites like the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University, the Oakwood Cemetery, downtown Lewiston, and Old Fort Niagara. There are 15 stops total this season, increasing from the twelve on the route during the inaugural season. Those near the sites say they’re feeling the benefits of having more visitors exposed to the Niagara River Region.
“When they come off the shuttle, the businesses prosper; the restaurants prosper; everybody prospers,” said Jennifer Pauly, the president of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce. “It’s great way to showcase what we have here.”
The community members are hoping the services will increase and over time, it will show even more people everything the Niagara Region has to offer.
“Then we can reinvest it in to creating new exhibits and creating new products,” said Capen, while talking about and looking forward to the future of the region and shuttle.
For information on how to board the shuttle and look at where it stops, you can visit the Discover Niagara Shuttle website here.