Update 2: Tri-State took another look at bus accident data in Nassau County and determined that our initial conclusion, that accident rates were rising after NICE took over Nassau County’s bus system, was not based on the most up-to-date information available, and that it misinterpreted NICE Bus and MTA data on accident rates. We believed that, like the MTA’s presentation of data, NICE bus’ data was representative of accidents per 100,000 miles. Instead, NICE presented their data as an aggregate of the first six months of accidents. In reality, according to the National Transit Database—a tool that allows a more ‘apples to apples’ comparison—it appears that NICE reduced accident rates over their first few months of service in Nassau County. According to the NTD’s safety and security data, discounting a vehicle revenue miles comparison, NICE averaged 5 collisions per month from January to April of 2012, while over the course of 2011, the MTA’s Long Island Bus operations averaged 7.9 collisions per month (Tri-State could not access a breakout of the first four months).
Update 1: Tri-State is currently working to verify these numbers. Tri-State’s initial analysis and anecdotal evidence suggest an increase in accident rates, but differences between NICE Bus statistical reporting and MTA statistical reporting have spurred a reexamination of the crash rate comparison.
A Tri-State analysis of NICE Bus’ June 2012 performance indicators and the MTA’s 2011 year-end data has found that Veolia Transportation’s NICE Bus vehicles’ crash rate is approximately three times the comparable rate from 2011.
NICE Bus data indicates an average rate of 11 accidents per 100,000 miles driven, which is roughly three times higher than last year’s average under the MTA’s operation. In 2011, Long Island Bus, which ran Nassau County’s system until January 1 of this year, had an average crash rate of approximately 3.5 accidents per 100,000 miles driven.
The cause of the apparent increased crash rate is unclear, but this and other issues will be discussed in a forthcoming Tri-State report on NICE’s first seven months of operation. The analysis comes on the heels of the recently released Long Island Bus Riders Union report “Unreliable and Inaccessible: A Report Card on Veolia’s Service for Disabled Riders” and an announcement that 45 new, long-delayed buses will finally be added to the NICE fleet by the end of the year.