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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Unreliable and Inaccessible: A Report Card on Veolia's Service for Disabled Riders

Today's Press Conference was a huge success, with over 30 bus riders and 7 news outlets attending, we definitely got our point across. Download our report online here. And check out our coverage in Newsday:

NICE Bus gets low grades from disabled riders

A Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus in Garden
Photo credit: Barry Sloan | A Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus in Garden City, part of the current fleet that officials said would be increased by 45 vehicles by the end of the year. (Jan 1, 2012)
NICE Bus deserves a failing grade for not offering enough visual and audio announcements for disabled customers, according to a report released Thursday by a riders' advocacy group.
The Long Island Bus Riders Union surveyed several NICE buses and stations to put together the report, "Unreliable and Inaccessible: A Report Card of Veolia's Service for Disabled Riders."
The report, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, looked at several areas concerning disabled riders and assigned letter grades.
NICE is owned by Nassau County and has been privately operated by Veolia Transportation since January. The company received its worst grade -- an "F" -- for its audio announcement and visual scrolling systems on buses.
NICE Bus officials planned to release a response to the report later on Thursday.
The Riders Union monitored 28 buses and found that 68 percent made no audio announcements, and 71 percent made no visual announcements.
"We're very disappointed in this," union founder Charlene Obernauer said at a news conference at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in Hempstead Thursday morning.
The report also gave NICE a "C" for accessible signage at stations, saying that more terminals need Braille signs; a "C" for its wheelchair lifts, which the report said malfunction too often; a "D" for offering disabled riders access to fixed route buses; and another "D" for the duration of Able-Ride trips.
NICE got its best grades for its phone-based schedules and Able-Ride appointment system, its online presence, and the duration of fixed route trips. In those areas it scored a "B."

Bus Riders’ Union to Highlight Problems with NICE Bus Service for Disabled Riders on Anniversary of the ADA

Where:  Rosa Parks Bus Terminal
   Intersection of Jackson St and Station Plaza in Hempstead

When:    Thursday, July 26th, 2012 at 11:00am

This Thursday marks the 22nd anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, transportation, State and local government, public and private accommodations, and communication. Access to transportation is fundamental to the independence and full community participation of disabled people.

The Long Island Bus Riders' Union will hold a press conference at the Hempstead Transit Center to celebrate the Birthday of the ADA and to highlight the need for improvements for Nassau County’s disabled riders. We will present Veolia with a graded report card, detailing the existing system and highlighting improvements that must be made. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This is What Happens When You Don't Fund the Buses

On Monday, July 16th, a bus broke down at the Island Park Train Station in Long Beach. Bus riders unsuccessfully attempted to physically move the bus from the tracks so as not to delay the Long Island Railroad. The breakdown, unfortunately, is not uncommon. As less money is being dedicated to the maintenance of the buses, buses are more likely to break down, wheelchair lifts are less likely to work properly; and Nassau County bus riders bear the brunt of a bad deal.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Upcoming Meeting

Bus Riders:
Come to Our Next Meeting
Tuesday, August 14th, 6-7:30pm
250 Fulton Avenue, Suite 607, Hempstead

Hempstead Bus Terminal buses:
n6, n15, n16, n27, n31/n32, n35, n40/n41, n46/n47, n48/n49, n54/n55, n70/n71/n72

Walking directions from Hempstead Bus Terminal:
Walk down Jackson Street toward Main Street. Turn left on Main Street and walk toward Fulton Avenue. Turn right on Fulton Avenue and walk to 250 Fulton Avenue.