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      New $18.8 million Centro bus hub opens in Syracuse

      A new $18.8 million bus hub opening in Syracuse should make it easier on commuters this winter.

      The Centro Transit Hub opened Tuesday, replacing the existing transfer station in central Syracuse. The new station can accommodate 22 Centro buses and will allow passengers to switch buses while sheltered from the elements.

      The hub will handle up to 12,000 people who transfer buses in Syracuse each day.

      Centro Executive Director Frank Kobliski told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the first day of operation "went very well" but was not "100 percent." Kobliski said some riders experienced delays brought on mainly by construction work and there was confusion among many passengers about schedules and boarding areas. Centro's executive staff of about 15 people were on hand at the new hub to answer rider's questions and provide directions.

      On August 24th, the hub's ribbon cutting became the scene of a loud protest by advocates for the disabled. They felt the facility did not adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act and referred specifically to a lack of adequate seating. Although Centro says the hub meets ADA standards, Kobliski confirmed today that Centro intends to install an additional 30 seats.

      The new hub replaces the former transfer station at the intersection of South Salina and Fayette Streets in downtown Syracuse. In anticipation of the changeover, developers have begun transforming the 300 block of South Salina and surrounding areas into a new urban neighborhood. Many of the crumbling yet historic buildings are being redeveloped into upscale apartments and condominiums with shops and restaurants on the street level.

      Karen Van Patten who manages the Dunkin' Donut shop at the former transfer station welcomes the change. She says the large crowd of bus riders is being replaced by downtown business people. She felt it was "unfair" to force passengers to wait outside without rest rooms and says the new facility will provide shelter from harsh weather conditions and comfortable seating.

      (Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)