The New York State Fair is a busy time of year for Centro, which in 2016 provided 577,624 rides to customers from various Park-N-Ride locations across Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties directly to the Fair’s Main Gate. That number represented a 23% increase in rides from 2015. Centro also provided shuttle rides to 319,189 Fairgoers from the State Fair’s Parking Lots to the Main Gate - a 13% increase from 2015.
During the 12 day 2016 State Fair, Centro’s combined total of Fair service, regular line service, and a home football game at Syracuse University accounted for 910,000 rides, which represents 8% of Centro’s total annual ridership.
In 2017, after the first seven days of the Fair, Centro’s Park-N-Ride service has provided nearly 294,000 rides to and from the Main Gate at the Fairgrounds.
Of the 1,117,630 people who went through the turnstiles at the Fair in 2016, 1 out of every 3 to 4 arrived at the Main Gate on a Centro bus. Centro attributes the rise in ridership both to an increase in overall State Fair attendance and the restructuring of the Park-N-Ride location at the Fair’s Main Gate, which alleviated traffic congestion and vastly improved the overall customer experience.
Centro’s State Fair service operates from 6:30am until 12:15am each day of the Fair thanks to the efforts of approximately 150 full-time Centro employees and 75 seasonal part-time employees. A total of 80 Centro buses are deployed at peak service during the Fair.
This year, to address rising numbers of Fairgoers, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that additional bus service from regional transit authorities from around the State would be added to help support Centro’s Park-N-Ride Express service to and from The Great New York State Fair.
Calling upon Capital District Transportation Authority, Regional Transit Service, and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the Governor was able to provide 16 additional buses at a new Park-N-Ride location at John Glenn Blvd/Farrell Rd. The new location, which opened on August 25 and will operate through September 4, will not only help alleviate traffic congestion, it will help move Fairgoers to the Fairgrounds quicker. Early estimates suggest that the added bus service will help move more than 1,000 people per hour. To date in 2017, this Park-N-Ride location has provided nearly 10,000 rides.
"After record-breaking attendance in 2016, we made a promise to keep visitors moving at the Fair this year and this partnership with the transit authorities is delivering on that promise," Governor Cuomo said. "With 16 additional buses helping to transport more than 1,000 visitors an hour, getting to the Fair will be easier than ever while easing traffic on local roads. I encourage visitors from near and far to consider using public transportation to get to the Great New York State Fair this year."
The following transit authorities are providing buses as a result of a partnership with Centro and the New York State Fair:
Regional Transit Service in Rochester is providing six buses, drivers, and an operations supervisor to assist in managing the John Glenn Blvd / Farrell Rd Park-N-Ride location.
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in Buffalo is providing six buses throughout the Fair along with drivers during the first weekend and last four days of the Fair.
Capital District Transportation Authority in Albany is providing four buses and up to four operators.
In addition to the new Park-N-Ride, Centro Express buses will regularly depart from State Fair Park-N-Ride locations across Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties arriving at the Fair's Main Gate.
Centro Chief Executive Officer Rick Lee said, "Centro is very excited to welcome our sister transit agencies from Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany to work side by side with us to make the 2017 State Fair an outstanding event. Their contribution of buses and staff is a great example of inter-agency cooperation that benefits all New Yorkers! We want to thank Governor Cuomo and his team for facilitating this effort."
The Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (Centro) is the public transportation provider for Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties. Centro’s mission is to provide safe, convenient, reliable, and environmentally responsible services to its clients with a goal of maximizing the taxpayers’ return on investment.