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Dear NICE Bus Rider:
Since NICE was rolled out on January 1st, 2012, Nassau County’s bus system is performing better and customers are enjoying improved service. Our goal is to continue to make strides with each passing month.
More buses are on time, in part due to an increased emphasis on service quality which improves overall system performance. Chronic “missed service,” where buses literally did not leave the garage, is a thing of the past.
Customer ridership has increased and we have seen modest gains in overall passengers on the system compared to 2011. We believe this is partially due to more reliable service and we hope to continue to attract more riders throughout the system.
New enhanced service has been introduced, including the first-ever express bus service between Nassau County and New York City. In all, some 11,000 customers, or about 32 percent of our 35,000 daily riders, travel on routes that now have an express option that can reduce their commute from 30-40 minutes per day.
The public-private partnership with Veolia Transportation is already saving residents millions of dollars. You may recall that for 2012, the MTA budget forecast for Long Island Bus was $156 million; however, Veolia’s agreement with the County specifies a $106 million budget for 2012 derived from fares, subsidies and other revenue.
We are pleased to report that huge efficiency savings and productivity gains have already addressed a large portion of that deficit. NICE has reduced the overall expense level by tens of millions of dollars -- NICE is delivering on the promise of providing the most service with the money that is available.
For the first time, transportation professionals have carefully studied our bus system to determine how it could be more responsive to riders and more cost effective for taxpayers. The result is a redesigned system that is introducing the first-ever express buses while eliminating some of the truly wasteful service.
Running nearly empty buses is very expensive and requires large taxpayer subsidies – NICE is committed to placing resources where they assist the most riders. Wherever possible, NICE provides alternatives for riders whose service is reduced. NICE has not eliminated entire routes, a far cry from the dire proposals in years past to cut up to half of the routes.
We are just getting started with improvements to NICE – and ensuring that the system continues to operate in an efficient, fiscally responsible way.
Edward P. Mangano
Nassau County Executive