NFNHA Issues Discover Niagara Shuttle Request for Proposals

NFNHA Issues Discover Niagara Shuttle Request for Proposals

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The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Inc. (NFNHA) is soliciting statements of qualifications and proposals from qualified shuttle operators to provide vehicles and drivers for the DISCOVER NIAGARA SHUTTLE service program (DNS) connecting visitors in Niagara Falls to heritage and cultural attractions within Niagara and Erie Counties. 

The purpose of this RFP is to obtain statements of qualifications, proposals, scope of work descriptions, and prices from interested firms who meet the professional qualification standards of transportation/shuttle service providers.    After review of qualifications and proposals, the NFNHA may select a small number of top-ranking candidates and/or firms for consultation meetings, prior to awarding the contract.  The successful operator will be awarded a two-year contract to operate DNS.   Renewal, continuation, or expansion of services will be determined at the conclusion of the two-year contract.  

The NFNHA Management Plan identified that transportation is a major challenge for the Niagara Falls region, especially as public transportation options within Niagara County are quite limited for travelers without access to a car.   Although there have been a number of public and private efforts over the years to address this issue, none has yet fully succeeded in addressing this important need.  The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, through public-private partnership, took the lead developing a regional model capable of addressing the transportation challenges in Niagara Falls in 2016 known as the Discover Niagara Shuttle.   What began as a concept in 2016 has become a staple to the tourism economy in Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas of Lewiston and Youngstown.   Since 2016, the Discover Niagara Shuttle has connected more than 100,000 visitors and residents to 17 destinations along the Niagara River corridor, all the way from Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, through Lewiston’s waterfront and business district, along the Niagara Gorge to the bustling City of Niagara Falls and its beautiful parks and natural wonders. 

A 2017 independent study of the Shuttle’s economic impact in Niagara County conducted by Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized consulting firm, found that the operation of the Discover Niagara Shuttle injected $35 million into the Niagara County economy during the2016 season alone.  

The existing Discover Niagara Shuttle has operated as a seven day a week free service from May until October with four vehicles being in circulation daily connecting visitors to 17 destinations.    

With recent legislation passing that supports the sustainability of the Discover Niagara Shuttle, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area has directed its staff to seek proposals to maintain the existing service as well as to expand the service through a couple of options. 

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center