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Monday, November 4, 2013

*Save the Date*

Make sure you save the date for our

upcoming meeting!

November 21st, 2013

At the Ethical Humanist Society

Garden City, NY

Please send any type of inquiries to:

Aaron Watkins-Lopez

631-348-1170 EXT. 310

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bus Riders' Union Report Takes Issue with NICE Bus on ADA

On Tuesday, October 29th, the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union held a press conference at the Rosa Parks Bus Terminal where we released our second annual report card on NICE bus service for disabled riders. The report, released during Disability Awareness Month, presents research compiled over the past year that measures Veolia’s improvements and shortcomings on both fixed-route and Able-ride buses concerning accessible bus service for disabled riders, and their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Bus Riders’ Union grades NICE based on its compliance with the ADA. The report found that Veolia received “failing” grades for its “accessibility” rating on fixed-route buses, based on the fact that 45% of audible and visual announcements aboard buses were not working, and 84% of external bus announcements were not working. The Bus Riders’ Union also gave NICE a low rating of “D” for the Braille signage at many bus terminals, including Roosevelt Field, Nassau Community College and Jamaica.
Overall, we made a set of recommendations and what they called “legal requirements” to NICE Bus, and urged them to act on their recommendations swiftly. 
To view our report, click here!
For Newsday’s coverage of the press conference, visit their website online here.

Thank you for all of your support!

Aaron Watkins-Lopez

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bus Riders' Union Announces New "Read Error' Report Sheet

The Long Island Bus Riders' Union has heard testimony after testimony of Nassau County bus riders being denied entrance onto buses and losing countless dollars because they received a "Read Error" when they dipped their MetroCard into a fare box aboard a NICE Bus. The error effects all types of MetroCards and in some cases wipes the card clean of all money, regardless of how new the card is. To advocate for better maintenance and replacement of these malfunctioning machines, we have decided to launch a "Read Error" incident report sheet to demonstrate the magnitude of this problem on NICE Bus and advocate on your behalf. Click here to fill out the new form. The form can also be found on our "Report an Incident" page.

If you have experienced any other incidents regarding NICE Bus, please fill out this form and we will follow up with you regarding the incident.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

*REMINDER* Long Island Bus Riders' Union Meeting NEXT WEEK!

We want to remind you that our next meeting on 

October 24, 2013 at 6 p.m. at the

Ethical Humanist Society,
38 Old Country Road, Garden City.

We will be discussing the Metrocard 

"Read Error" glitch and 

our upcoming ADA Report Release.

Please keep reporting any type of 

incidents regarding the NICE bus.

Please send any type of inquiries 


Aaron Watkins-Lopez

631-348-1170 EXT. 310

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letting Elected Officials Know That Bus Riders Have a Voice!

Since the founding of the Bus Riders' Union in late 2011, many people were skeptical. They thought that bus riders like me don't vote, and that we weren't engaged in politics. Or they didn't think about us at all, ignoring transit issues during election time and ignoring bus terminals as voter engagement sites. We wanted to change that mindset. We started showing up to legislative hearings, to committee meetings, even to meetings with elected officials. And people started to hear our message, but some not loudly enough.

Today, we released a report that shows just how engaged bus riders are. Do bus riders vote? Well, yes. In our new report, called "Bus Riders Vote: A Report on Voter Engagement for Bus Riders", we showed that 55% voted in the past two years, and 58% plan to vote in the November 2013 elections. Not only do we vote, but 69% of us think that public transportation is a "very important" issue to us when we're deciding on a candidate.

Check out the full report online here and see our list of recommendations for elected officials, which includes recommending they: attend transit advisory committee meetings, speak to us at bus terminals, and ride the buses themselves! By doing these things, they will understand what we already know: many improvements need to be made to our bus system, from increasing County funding to repairing erroneous Metrocard machines.
Thank you for your support over the past few years, and read our report to learn more!

Aaron Watkins-Lopez
Bus Rider and Organizer with Long Island Jobs with Justice

Monday, September 30, 2013

Upcoming BRU Meeting!

Make sure you mark your calendars!

We want to invite you to our next meeting on October 24, 2013 at 6 p.m. at the Ethical Humanist Society, 38 Old Country Road, Garden City.
We want to hear from you!

Please keep reporting any type of incidents regarding the NICE bus.

Please send any type of inquiries to:

Aaron Watkins-Lopez-

631-348-1170 EXT. 310

Monday, March 11, 2013

Riders Review NICE: New Report on NICE Bus Service

 Bus Riders Union’ Releases Report Calling for Improved Service for People with Disabilities, Reduced Wait time for Buses, an a Fix to the N6

Mineola, NY—The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union released a report today that outlined changes that need to be made to the bus system, according to the bus riding public. The report comes from a public forum that the Union hosted in late February, where bus riders shared their experiences on the buses with legislators and the community at large.

Bus riders have had a variety of experiences, from being stuck on the lift of an Able-Ride bus for a half-hour to Nassau Community College buses overcrowding and threatening the safety of the riders. With experiences like these, on top of a $.25 cent fare hike for Metrocards and a 10% reduction in service hours from 2012-2013, bus riders were concerned.

As one bus rider and member of the Bus Riders’ Union, David O’Donnel said, “We pay among the highest taxes in the country, but our bus system has gotten worse and worse. We talk about low ridership. Why? It’s dysfunctional.”

The report concludes with four recommendations for better bus service in Nassau County:

·      Improve service for people with disabilities by honoring pickup times, fixing audible and visual announcements on buses, and testing wheelchair lifts before they go out.
·      Fix glitches with Metrocards, provide more places for riders to buy them, and allow for riders to pay cash on board.
·      Reduce the 20 minute window for buses
·      Fix the N6!

“The goal of this report is to share bus riders’ experience with legislators and the general public, who might not know what the bus service has been like for riders on a day to day basis. We hope that NICE Bus will work together with us to fix some of these problems, and ultimately look forward to an improved bus system,” said Charlene Obernauer, founder of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fare Hikes Voted Down

It has been a great year for Long Island Jobs with Justice, and we're just getting started. A few weeks ago, County Executive Ed Mangano came out against a fare hike for cash riders of Nassau County Bus, and just yesterday, we got the Transit Advisory Committee to vote against the fare hike for these riders. Metrocard users will still see a fare hike of $.25 that will mimic the hike that the MTA instilled, but cash users will not pay an increase in fares.

This is a great victory for bus riders in Nassau, but this is only the beginning. With ridership numbers at an all-time low and service down by 10%, we need to keep the pressure up. That's why we're having a Public Forum with our elected officials on February 28th at 6:00pm at the Ethical Humanist Society in Garden City. 

We hope to see you there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fare Hikes Galore on Rosa Parks' Birthday

by Charlene Obernauer

For the past month, we have been organizing bus riders to resist a proposed fare hike for Nassau County bus.  We’ve gotten thousands of petitions signed by bus riders and allies, and we’ve been mobilizing people against the fare hike, which would be a $275 annual increase for bus riders, or a $.25 cent hike for single rides.

On Tuesday afternoon, County Executive Ed Mangano released a statement opposing the fare hike and urging the Transit Advisory Committee to vote against the increase in fares. This is huge and is truly a victory for bus riders in Nassau County. The TAC will vote on the proposal on February 13th at 4:00pm at 700 Commercial Avenue in Garden City and we will deliver thousands of petitions to prevent the hike from going into effect. 

Although the fare hike in Nassau is now looking less likely, in Suffolk, a fare hike proposal for disabled riders has been introduced. Bus riders simply cannot afford a 25% increase and should not have to. Two public hearings are scheduled for March 6th and 7th from 3-7pm at the Suffolk Legislative Building. 

Today is Rosa Parks' 100th Birthday. She fought for a world where everyone can ride wherever they wanted on a bus. We are fighting for a world where everyone can afford to get on that same bus, regardless of their income. Please join us in the struggle. Happy Birthday, Rosa. For you, we all fight.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sign Our Petition to Fight Fare Increases!

These past few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride for Nassau County bus riders. NICE Bus held a fare increase hearing about the MTA’s proposed fare increase in New York City, and the impact that this will have on Nassau’s bus riders. While the MTA fare hike is certainly not fair, the Transit Advisory Committee can chose NOT to put this fare increase on bus riders.

Over the past year, service cuts have far surpassed increases in service. NICE provided approximately 9.5% fewer miles of service and 10.5% fewer hours of service than in 2011. Because of these service cuts, ridership had dropped, and more bus riders are dissatisfied with the bus system.
For working people who take the bus three times a day, this fare increase equals about $300 additional dollars a year on bus service. The fare increase is not just an adjustment due to inflation, but is systematically making bus riders pay more and more money for bus service.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that access to public transportation is a right. As bus routes continue to decrease and fares continue to increase, we are taking away this right from bus riders. We deserve better. Please prevent a fare increase from going into effect for NICE Bus.

Sign our petition TODAY and mark your calendars now for the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union PEOPLE’S HEARING against a fare hike!

When: February 28th, 6:00-9:00PM
Where: Ethnical Humanist Society in Garden City

P.S.: Don’t forget to sign the petition! It really does make a difference.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Public Forum!


Thursday, February 28th, 6:00-8:30pm
Ethical Humanist Society, Garden City

Have you had problems with your bus service and want your voice to be heard?

Are you worried about fare increases and possible service cuts in 2013?

Come to the Bus Riders’ Union Public Forum!

Directions: N22, N23, N24, N40, N41, N78, or N79 to the Mineola Intermodal Center (at the train station). Walk 1 block south to Old Country Road, then make a right and walk for about 5 minutes to the Society, which is on the south side of the road by the water tower.

Bus Riders Angry About Fare Increases

Last week, the Transit Advisory Committee meeting held a public hearing regarding fare increases for the bus system. With only one week to mobilize community members, only a few dozen bus riders attended the event, where they were told that their fares would be increased by $.25. 

The following is a testimony that Ana Giraldo, an Organizer with the Long Island Bus Riders' Union, made at the hearing:

We understand the fare increases could be a possibility and we know that such MTA fare hikes do have a great impact on the NICE bus system. But a $.25 cent fare increase at a time when service has worsened and more routes have been cut than ever before, IS UNJUSTIFIABLE. For working people who take the bus three times a day, this fare increase equals about $275 additional dollars per year on public transit. Would you keep your car insurance if they started charging you $275 more dollars a year? Unfortunately for bus riders, they don't have a choice.

We want to ensure that moving forward into 2013, our buses have a high quality of service—and we believe that the service needs to be drastically improved before we can even discuss an increase in fares.