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Buffalo Transportation

Getting There

Airport
Smart planners placed glossy, steel, mid-sized Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) a fast and easy 10 miles outside the center of town (www.buffaloairport.com). With its bright metallic exterior and gracefully curved horizontal roof, it looks almost like a Frisbee streaking across the sky. The airport itself is easy to navigate, and is served by major U.S. carriers like Jet Blue, American and Continental. The simplest way to travel into the city from here is to grab a cab (www.buffaloairporttaxi.com, 716-633-8294, around $30). There's also a shuttle service (716-472-8580), and some hotels provide complimentary shuttles to and from airport . Numerous flights from Canada arrive daily, as well as flights from London, Paris and other major European cities.
Bus

There's no shortage of buses pulling into Buffalo, which is a major destination for Americans and Canadians alike. A popular service is Go To Bus, a website that finds tours and cheap rates for all major carriers. To book directly yourself, go to Greyhound, NY Trailways, or Go NYC Bus. Buses from the south of New York take at least eight hours, and there are frequent stops—look for an express that's only hitting major cities like Rochester and Albany, and not every small Adirondack town between Buffalo and Manhattan.

 

Train

A train trip won't be fast, but it will be gorgeous. Amtrak runs various train services to Buffalo from all around the country—most will come up through what's known as the southern tier of the state and continue all the way up to Montreal in Canada. In the fall, these trains are a prime way to get a look at the colorful foliage changes—a practice known to New Yorkers as “leaf-peeping.” Amtrak has two stations in Buffalo: the downtown Exchange Street and the Depew station near the airport.

Getting Around

Public Transit

Buffalo transportation relies on a small, approximately 6-mile subway system, the Buffalo Metro Rail, which essentially runs along the length of Main Street. It's convenient if you want to travel in a straight line from downtown Buffalo to the University at Buffalo, but not very helpful in other directions. It is speedy, however; it only takes 22 minutes to get you from one end to the other, and the trains—usually two or four small "light rail" cars hooked together—generally run about 10 minutes apart. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority includes the Metro Rail and buses throughout Buffalo: there are no charges for transfers.

·       You don't need to buy a ticket if you get on the Buffalo Metro above ground and get off before it goes below ground, which it does right after the theater district.

·       Tickets are sold by machines and passengers are held to the "honor-system" of buying one before boarding (there are random spot-checks, and cheaters are hit with a fine).

·       One-way tickets are $1.75, but you can get an all-day pass for $4, which lets you have unlimited rides and free transfers onto local buses for the whole day.

·       The Metro Rail was originally intended to be an extensive system that ran through the whole city, but by the time construction started in 1978, Buffalo was in such a deep recession that the project was nearly abandoned. The city held on to complete phase one, which is in use today, but the costs were so high it still can't afford to finish the whole project.

·       The Metro Rail runs through "Buffalo Place" in downtown Buffalo, a car-free section of the city which has been turned into a big pedestrian mall.

Taxis
Call ahead if you're going to take a taxi around Buffalo, because you won't have much luck hailing one on the street. Airport taxis are easily found if you fly to Buffalo, but take a card and keep the number handy if you plan on cabbing it around town. The rates start at $2.30, and 50 cents will be tacked on for every 1/6 of a mile. If you make your cabbie wait while you run an errand, you'll get charged .50 for every minute of that, too.  Expect to pay a flat rate of $30 (not including tip) to get to/from the airport, and if you hire a cabbie for a guided tour, you'll pay about $45 an hour (and probably have to commit to at least three hours).
Driving
Why not, when traffic is as light as it is in this city? All things are relative, of course—Buffalo does have its congested moments, and finding parking in peak business hours can be a challenge. Nonetheless, driving in Buffalo is not as time-consuming or rage-inducing as you'd find in say, Los Angeles or Boston. If you've got a yen to explore beyond basic Buffalo, Niagara Falls or the St. Lawrence Seaway, for example—then a rental is the way to go. But if all you want to do is bounce around Buffalo, you can save yourself the hassle and travel on foot.
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