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Train Station Numbers Just Don't Add Up

By Frank Parlato

The present train station is not much to look at, but then again not many people have to look at it. With nine scheduled dep artures daily, many trip s have only two or three people boarding here.
The present train station may be small, but it will cost $45 million plus to build a new one and probably $500,000 or more per year to maintain.

You can build it, but that doesn't mean they will come.

There are about 10,000 riders that arrive in Niagara Falls each year at the currently functional train station on 27th St. and Lockport Rd.

About 27 people per day.

"Once the (new train) station opens up, they project that to double, in a year or two," said City Planner Tom DeSantis, an enthusiast of spending $10 or maybe more of city taxpayer money, along with some $40 million of federal and state money to build a new train station. DeSantis projects that 20,000 people will arrive in Niagara Falls per year, or 55 people per day, after the new station is built.

Using DeSantis' estimates, it will probably cost the taxpayers of Niagara Falls more than $20 per rider to get a person on a train to arrive here.

In using this number, we must remember that some of the present riders already live in the Falls and use the existing train station.

27 people per day, on average, arrive here currently. The increase caused by having a new train station, according to DeSantis, will mean that the city will get another 27 riders per day. To get those extra 27, it will cost city taxpayers, by our calculations, about $50 per rider to come into town.

The rider, of course, will still have to pay for his own ticket. And the $50 does not include the cost to build the train station, just the building's maintenance and operations. Now consider: They want to build a new, massive train station and only 54 people will arrive per day.

Another 54, perhaps, will come to the station to depart.

If the building is open 12 hours, that means nine people will, on average, per hour, be in this giant building.

There will be more employees than riders.

Because train travel has diminished over the past several decades, there are fewer arrival and departure times. Chances are the entire station will be absolutely empty much of the time, and then, during arrivals or departures, a couple of times per day, there will be a dozen or so people in the building for a few minutes.

Generally those who travel by train, once they arrive, are weary from travel and will leave within minutes.

Mayor Dyster hopes to build a busy, bustling, shining monument, where a city and its visitors will decide to convert from the automobile and the airplane in favor of the train.

If it is built, what is more likely is that we will posses a building that will be costly, empty, lonely and will resemble the city morgue, with about the same amount of activity.

We understand that Mayor Dyster is now promoting the notion that the city should borrow that gap money.

In fact, between arrival and departure times, the employees could sleep in the corners, or play a rousing game of stick ball in the giant corridors.

They won't have much else to do.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar12 , 2013