On And Off The New Nonsense Shuttle

 by James Hufnagel

The official Niagara Falls National Heritage Area map shows the new tourist shuttle traveling non-existent downtown streets.

Earlier this week I went for a ride on the Discover Niagara Shuttle, so as to be able to give a first-hand account of the experience to you, the reader.

I asked the driver if I had enough time to run over to the NTCC Visitors Center for a ticket. They responded that none was necessary, so I got on.

Sitting in air-conditioned splendor, ten minutes passed before anyone else boarded. A middle-aged couple got on, and we struck up a conversation. They were from the Poconos and related that driving around downtown trying to find their hotel was a “nuthouse”, despite having a GPS. The husband was particularly critical of the new south Moses Parkway/Riverway traffic circle, where apparently he had gotten lost.

The driver closed the door and drove off with the three of us. We stopped for a couple of minutes at the NTCC Visitors Center, for no apparent reason, then it was up Third Street, where we picked up another middle-aged couple at Old Falls, who turned out to be from Daytona. They sat up front next to the driver.

Turning right on Ferry, and then left on Portage, I stole glances at the out-of-towners. They were slack-jawed and wordless, staring out the window at the dilapidated buildings and boarded-up houses that grace that scenic approach to the NACC, where we also stopped for reasons unknown.

At that point I moved up and asked the driver if I could ask a couple of questions.

“Why aren’t you following the map (which was handed out to us passengers as we got on)? It shows you going up to Main, but you turned on Ferry.”

“Well, that’s pretty stupid!” was the reply, to which the Daytona couple started cracking up.

The driver pulled away from the NACC and we sat at the long light in anticipation of a left on Pine to the Aquarium, and the Daytona husband took the opportunity to motion in the opposite direction, asking, “What’s this Little Italy? Is that where that famous Italian restaurant, I can’t think of the name, is?”, to which the driver twice replied, “I don’t get down there much.”

We stopped at the Aquarium, and I told them about the Como and how Frank Sinatra famously loved eating there, wished both couples a pleasant stay, and thanked the driver. Then I got off and started walking back to downtown Niagara Falls.

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