Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
Union, Veolia Reach Deal On Long Island Bus
Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 12:00 AM
A bus drivers union has reached a tentative contract agreement with the new private operator of Long Island Bus, averting an interruption in Nassau County bus service.
Veolia Transportation will take over the bus lines from New York's MTA on January 1 in a move meant to save the transit agency money.
Patricia Bowden, president of Transport Workers Union Local 252, said she was thrilled that there would be no workforce reductions.
"I believe that it is a fair contract, it's not the same as the MTA, because that's a public [agency]," she said, "but for a private company I think it's very fair."
Veolia confirmed that there would be no layoffs. "Every TWU member who worked on Long Island Bus and applied and was qualified to join Veolia to work on NICE has been made a job offer," an email from the company said.
The contract must be ratified by the union membership before it takes effect. The union said a date for a ratification vote will be scheduled for January.
On January 1, the service’s name will be changed to NICE, an acronym for Nassau Inter-County Express. Veolia said all current routes will continue to run, and will cover all of the same stops they normally do. Although the MTA will no longer be involved with operations, riders can still use their MetroCards.