Streams

Long Island Bus To Privatize

Thursday, November 10, 2011

WNYC
On Jan 1, Long Island Bus will change its name to NICE, and get a new look. (WNYC)

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano held a press conference in a Garden City bus garage to announce that Veolia Transportation, a private company, will assume operations of Long Island Bus from the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority on January 1.

On that day, the bus service’s name will be changed to “NICE,” an acronym for Nassau Inter-County Express. The buses will also be sporting a new orangey look.

Mangano said the move will reduce Nassau’s yearly subsidy to the service from $9 million, which it was paying to the NY MTA, to $2.26 million. He added Veolia would keep fares the same in 2012. If Veolia wanted to raise fares after that, Mangano said the company would need approval from a new 5-member Bus Transit Committee made up of Nassau County residents.

Veolia will keep the line’s 48 routes, at least to start. But Mangano said efficiency of service might mean “consolidating” routes in the future.

“Veolia’s responsibility is to continue to run an efficient bus service, monitoring routes and ridership so there’s no waste,” Mangano said. “Minimize waste, maximize efficiency–that’s how we keep bus service affordable here in Nassau County.”

Mangano said the contract between Nassau and the company has been sent to the county legislature for approval. It was not provided to the press or public. Beyond assurances of that Veolia can run the line more efficiently than the NY MTA, it is unclear how the company will turn a profit on such a relatively small subsidy.

It is also not yet known whether riders will be able to pay with a Metrocard, as they’ve been doing, or if Veolia will have to institute a new payment system. And Nassau County riders who cross the border into Queens could lose the free transfer to a NY MTA bus that they currently enjoy. Mangano said the county is negotiating with the NY MTA to maintain both arrangements.

Patricia Bowden, president of Transport Workers Union Local 252, talked to reporters after the press conference. She said her members — bus drivers, dispatchers, mechanics and others — face uncertainty in the switch from the NY MTA to Veolia. She added that the union offered to work with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to help manage the transition, but were rebuffed.

“Ed Mangano did not sit down with us,” she said. “To this day, he ignores Transport Workers Union Local 252. We haven’t even seen the contract.”

Bowden said she expects privatization to thin the ranks of the 981-member workforce and that workers will face cuts in benefits.

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Comments [10]

david h.

THE NEW COLOR WILL MAKE EVERY ONE KNOW THAT IT IS NOT M.T.A. NO MORE THEN WITH OUT IT THEN SEEING THE NAME NICE AS ITS NEW NAME PRINTED ON THE BUS OR ON PAPER.

Jan. 01 2012 10:40 AM
james civita

I wonder what the real fate of the workers are and that of the riding public of Nassau County ? Cutting costs down to 2.6 million from 9 mil for the MTA seems pretty unrealistic by todays standard it could only mean a sharply reduced service for the public and layoffs and wage and befit reductions for former MTA employees a very sad day for Nassau county

Dec. 07 2011 10:55 PM
Ron Z.

Funny how every article about this take over has people complaining about Veolia taking charge. I have seen actual demonstrations at the County office building against this. But no one ever asked or demonstrated to get rid of the MTA. Sure seems as if this is being done with an agenda, and not the riding public and tax payers in mind.

Nov. 14 2011 12:51 PM
Ron Z.

If money is an issue, just put an orange stripe next to the blue one. Half the current buses already are painted that way. Only the new ones just have the blue (NYC) stripe. Adding one orange stripe < money then entire paint job.

The new name makes no sense either. Nassau (OK, that is good) Inter County (Um, I guess they do go to Babylon, so technically correct while misleading at the very least) Express (???? No known express buses in the ENTIRE system). Nassau bus would be fine, no?

And if anyone has heard about some of the clauses in the contract, it appears that while the County may save a bit early on, in the end, it could cost them more for less service. NICE!

Nov. 11 2011 02:51 PM
Norton from Nutley, NJ

Thanks for the update James!

Nov. 11 2011 01:57 PM

Norton,

Mangano implied the buses were owned by the county; I didn't have time to check that.

He also said the Bus Transit Committee appointments will work this way: three by the county executive, one by the majority party in the legislature and one by the minority.

Nov. 11 2011 01:37 PM
Norton from Nutley, NJ

Were the buses transferred over to Veolia or were they purchased by Veolia?

This will be a private corporation; why are any subsidies given?

Of the five board members of the Bus Transit Committee; do any actually ride public transportation? How are they appointed and by who?

Assurances are all good and well; but where is the proof that Veolia is able to operate more efficiently than the MTA?

Nov. 11 2011 11:50 AM
What a cheesy name!

If anything, they should name the system Veolia LI Bus.

Also, I agree; the new look is really ugly. They shouldn't waste their money and just keep the pretty white and blue.

Nov. 11 2011 10:09 AM
What kind of a name is "NICE"?

That sounds so cheesy!
If anything, it should be Veolia LI Bus.

Also, I agree; the new bus look is very ugly looking. They should keep the pretty white and blue.

Nov. 11 2011 10:04 AM
That Looks SO UGLY!

U*G*L*Y !!!

Nov. 11 2011 09:58 AM

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