A free shuttle service has given some local businesses a shot in the arm. A new report shows the Discover Niagara Shuttle had a $35 million economic impact in Niagara County in 2016.
Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Executive Director Sara Capen says the shuttle helps keep tourists in the area longer which is important for the region.
"If people are coming to Niagara Falls and they extend their stay one additional day to go to Old Fort Niagara, what that does is generates economic impact. It supports our local nonprofit organizations, our cultural attractions, and it instills pride for the people who live here that we have a great place to come to and that you can extend the stay and spend more time here," Capen said.
If the shuttle continues, it's expected to have a $70 million economic impact by 2020.
"In our original, or pilot program, we didn't have any marketing budget. With a marketing budget you're going to get more people are going to find out about it when they're planning their trips to Niagara Falls. If they find out about it in advance they might book another night in a hotel room," Capen said.
The Discover Niagara Shuttle connects visitors and residents to 14 cultural attractions along the Niagara River corridor from Niagara Falls to Fort Niagara. During its first two seasons of operation it transported nearly 70,000 riders.