Alert Manager Helps Locate Missing Teen
Nassau Inter-County Express would like to recognize a NICE Team member for locating a teenager with autism who had been reported missing, helping to reunite him with his family.
NICE had received the report of a missing child about 2:30 am Thursday, April 4th. It is NICE policy to share these types of police reports with our entire transportation team, as we come in contact with upwards of 100,000 individuals a day.
Lucky for the missing teen named Daniel, Service Quality Manager Bryan Mahoney paid special attention that morning, recognizing him after seeing him sitting on a bench at Hempstead Transit Center, one of Nassau County's busiest transit hubs.
"I was talking to a bus operator, and I turn around, and I see him. He was sitting on one of the benches outside the building. I looked at him, and I said ghee, he looks like the kid they put out in the email," Mahoney said. "I walked over and said 'Are your Daniel?' He said 'yes.' I immediately brought him into the terminal to our office to warm up."
Mr. Mahoney contacted NICE Bus Command, who contacted Nassau County Police.
Daniel Velez, 16, who might have been trying to visit Coney Island, had been missing from his Lakeview home since 10:45 a.m. the day before, according to Nassau police.
"I asked if he was hungry. I brought him a coffee and buttered roll from the coffee stand. He wanted to know if I had any Sour Patch Kids, so we made sure to get him some of those, too," Mahoney added.
After a medical evaluation, Daniel was reunited with his mother at the terminal about 9:30 a.m.
"It was very routine. Luck really," said Mahoney who has been an SQM since 2010. "He was a wonderful kid."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran recognized SGM Mahoney on April 8th at NICE Headquarters, presenting him with a Citation on behalf of Nassau County. Please join us in congratulating Bryan on a job well done!
Find out more about Daniel's story in Newsday here. (Photo Credit: Newsday)
2019 Transit Awareness Day: Advocating for Nassau County
NICE Bus representatives joined transportation advocates from across New York at the State Capitol last week to educate lawmakers on the future of transit in New York – and the need for funding to support mobility efforts here in Nassau County.
NICE Bus CEO Jack Khzouz joined transit experts from the New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA), as well as advocates from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the New Yorkers For Better Public Transit Coalition, sharing information about the immediate needs for the 2019 budget as it continues to be negotiated.
The three transportation groups hosted panel discussions made up of advocates, transit agencies, along with state and locally elected officials, speaking about the need for increased and sustained funding for public transit throughout the state.
While much of the focus has been on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the challenges it currently faces, the spotlight also needs to be on statewide transit systems to ensure that no community is left behind, including Nassau County.
The New York state transit systems transport more than 9 million riders every day, making more than 3.8 billion passenger trips annually. It’s not only a more economical method of traveling, but it’s also more environmentally-friendly reducing carbon emissions by 17 million tons per year.
Locally, NICE provides nearly 100,000 trips a day – traveling roughly one million miles a month – serving all major LIRR stations, hospitals, colleges and Universities throughout Nassau County.
NYPTA and the New Yorkers for Better Public Transit coalition have asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators for a 50 percent increase in public transportation funding over the next five years, with a 10 percent increase for the 2019 budget. Members are also advocating for the Governor’s proposed congestion tolling program for the MTA, as well as for an additional $20 million for non-MTA transit to keep the capital funding level at $104.5 million, the same that it has been for the last two years.
Khzouz also educated lawmakers on the specific needs of Nassau County, highlighting the necessity for more frequency, added weekend and late night hours, and better LIRR connections – service qualities that could significantly impact the rider experience here in Nassau County.
"Many of the residents we serve are unaware of the funding sources supporting the public transit needs of the county. Every year we must advocate to ensure NICE services are maintained so cuts are not negatively impacting the communities we serve," said Khzouz "Without the support of our state representatives in Albany, transportation services would be unsustainable. A well-funded system is essential for our local communities to be able to grow and thrive."
Residents and rider advocates interested in joining New Yorkers for Better Public Transit and working with us to secure more funding for all of New York’s transit systems can sign up at www.ny4bettertransit.com. Fine out more about New Yorkers for Better Public Transit here.