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Bus Riders' List of Demands

The state of the NICE Bus System and its financial health has become a mounting concern for bus riders across Nassau County. Earlier this year, bus riders learned that NICE Bus was experiencing a budget shortfall and that in order to maintain service a fare increase on cash paying customers needed to be implemented. We recognize and commend Veolia and Nassau County for their contributions to offset this deficit, but we believe it is unfair that the poorest of the poor are expected to pick up the remainder of the tab while not receiving any improvements in service; we expect our bus fares to go to service expansion and enhancement, not budget shortfalls! 

The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union surveyed, interviewed and met with bus riders who agree that this decision is unacceptable for the current levels of service Veolia is providing. We have compiled these concerns into a list of bus rider demands and expect Veolia and Nassau County to take these concerns seriously and to work together to ensure that they are met. Bus riders should not be expected to bail out the buses!

Our list of demands is as follows:

Keep bus fares affordable! We request that the Nassau County Legislature hold an oversight hearing into NICE's budget to identify additional money for service expansion and to prevent future budget shortfalls and unjust fare increases on bus riders. 

Keep our bus dollars on the buses! In the instance of a fare increase, funds should solely be used to restore, expand, and improve bus service – not to fill budget shortfalls!

Invest in drivers! Provide bus drivers with routine post-employment trainings that highlight route competency, bus operation, and accessibility and sensitivity training. In addition, bus riders recognize the tremendous stress and pressure bus drivers must work under, and that these conditions can compromise driver safety. Bus riders demand that Veolia invest in better safety measures to keep drivers safe!

Represent the interests and needs of bus riders! To date, there isn’t a single bus rider represented on the Bus Transit Committee, yet the Vice Chairman is the Vice President of All Island Transportation, Nassau County’s largest taxi service – how is this considered fair representation? Bus riders demand the addition of one bus rider and one community advocate to the Bus Transit Committee!

Make public meetings accessible! It is unacceptable to hold public hearings during normal work hours. While these meetings might be convenient for Veolia employees and Bus Transit Committee members, they are poorly timed for those who do not have the privilege of leaving work early or taking the day off. We demand that all future public invahearings be held at a time that is after normal work hours and at a location that is central to bus riders. 

Issue a public “Thank You” to bus riders for bailing out NICE Bus! This fare increase is exactly that – a bailout. With no commitment to use funds for service expansion, bus riders deserve and demand a public “Thank You” from Veolia and Nassau County. We look forward to seeing this. 

We can no longer afford to pay more for less. We can longer make the decision between a bus fare and a meal. We can no longer afford to pay for late buses while losing our jobs and missing our doctor’s appointments. 

We take very seriously the current state of our bus system, and we hope that Veolia and Nassau County do the same by meeting the above mentioned demands of Nassau County bus riders. 

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Members of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union


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