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:
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."