Source: Newsday.com. A letter from almost two dozen groups called on Nassau County to increase its contribution to NICE Bus.
In the face of declining ridership and high levels of rider dissatisfaction, nearly two dozen local groups sent a letter to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the members of the Nassau County Legislature in August calling for increased funding for Nassau County’s bus system, Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE).
Unfortunately, although the final Nassau County budget is due by the end of the month, the County’s proposed contribution to NICE remains a paltry $2.6 million in the County Executive’s proposed budget. The groups hope that robust support from a diverse background of service sectors including rider, labor, social services, planning, environmental and transportation groups, will help convince Nassau County’s elected officials that funding the beleaguered bus system is good public policy. Support for increased funding for the bus system was particularly strong from Nassau’s business community, which made up 20 percent of the signatories to the letter. Region-wide business groups like the Long Island Business Council and the Long Island Association, as well as local business advocates like the Hicksville and Freeport Chambers of Commerce, helped make the case that County investment must be increased.
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Source: Suffolk County Transit. Sunday bus expansion will not only add service, but create jobs.
Last month Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone released his proposed operating budget for 2014. As expected, the budget included a $2 million increase in funding from New York State over last year’s budget-$24.1 million in 2014 versus $22 [...]
For the third year in a row, the Nassau County budget calls for a County contribution to the bus system of only $2.5 million. | Image: nassaucountyny.gov
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano released his $2.79 billion 2014 Proposed Budget earlier this week, and unfortunately for Nassau County Inter-County Express (NICE) riders, no new transit funding was included in his budget plan. For the third year in a row, the County Executive is proposing to keep the County’s contribution to its bus system at a paltry $2.5 million. According to the budget’s Executive Summary, this level of funding only exists because it is a “mandated County match to the STOA (State Transit Operating Assistance) program.”
While New York State has tried to pick up the funding slack by contributing 20 percent more to the bus system since NICE replaced Long Island Bus in 2012, and riders have seen a fare hike totaling $3 million, Nassau County has stubbornly refused to take its responsibility to fund its bus system seriously. And in recent months it has become increasingly clear that Nassau County’s failure to prioritize this funding is significantly impacting what was once one of the largest suburban bus systems in the country. Ridership in 2012 was the lowest since 1998 and ridership through July of 2013 is approximately 5 percent lower than 2012 ridership over the same time period. In addition, rider satisfaction rates from 2012 to 2013 have dropped precipitously. According to a NICE survey, overall satisfaction rates for the second quarter of 2013 dropped by 32 points, or nearly 52 percent, from Q2 of 2012 to Q2 of 2013.
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NYC Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito joined NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat and NYC Council candidate Mark Levine in calling on NYC DOT to restart the Select Bus Service project on 125th Street in Harlem. | Photo: NYC Council
In response to the New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) cancellation of the 125th [...]
A new report says NICE riders’ satisfaction with Nassau County’s bus system is falling. | Photo: Newsday/John Paraskevas
At June’s Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) Bus Transit Committee meeting, NICE riders were greeted with good news about plans to use increased funding from New York State, as well as additional revenues generated from a March 2013 fare hike, for new and restored service scheduled to begin in September.
At the same meeting NICE released its Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of 2013 for January-March, providing the first opportunity to review how NICE customers see the system today versus how they viewed the system when NICE first launched last year. While there is some good news (bus breakdowns per day have dropped dramatically and the farebox recovery ratio is up slightly), the year-over-year NICE report indicates the system still has a long way to go.
According to the KPI, overall customer satisfaction dropped 18 points from 47 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to just 29 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Riders were dissatisfied in the survey’s sub-categories as well:
- Bus cleanliness satisfaction dropped 30 points, from 48 percent to 18 percent;
- Stop cleanliness satisfaction dropped 26 points, from 49 percent to 23 percent and;
- On-time perception fell 13 points, from 42 percent to 29 percent.
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While he was quick to take credit for funds to restore service, Governor Cuomo has been silent on the MTA’s financial plan, which calls for two more fare hikes by 2017. | Photo: lohud.com
On Monday, MTA riders received good news when the agency announced roughly $18 million in service restoration and expansions, and another $10.5 million in increased service frequencies and Select Bus Service improvements. The service expansion was made possible largely through higher than anticipated returns on existing revenue sources, not from any additional new support from Albany or New York City. Nevertheless, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office made sure to issue a press release taking credit for the good news:
In the last two and a half years, our administration has made real improvements to the nation’s largest public transit system, implementing reforms that have improved services and made the MTA more efficient by reducing costs, cutting waste and putting the needs of straphangers and commuters first.
Yesterday the MTA provided more detail about its future outlook when it released a fragile financial plan that relies on two additional fare hikes in 2015 and 2017, a “net-zero” labor negotiation outcome and continued cost-cutting measures that go above and beyond the roughly $800 million in annual recurring savings the Agency has already made. But even with all these actions, the MTA still anticipates a $100 million deficit in 2017.
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NYCEDC finds bicycling to be an economic development driver. Source: landrys.com
Biking is a burgeoning business in New York City, according to a recent report from the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The EDC’s June 2013 Economic Snapshot-which highlights selected economic trends in New York City-not only touted the growth in cycling ridership, [...]
Sunday ridership has increased dramatically on Suffolk County buses.
The addition of Sunday bus service on two summer East End routes in Suffolk County is already proving to be a good investment according to recent ridership data released by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman. Schneiderman, the chief architect behind Suffolk County’s Sunday bus [...]
The plan calls for the expansion of the City’s Select Bus Service network. | Image: PlaNYC
The coverage of Mayor Bloomberg’s $20 billion storm resiliency plan for New York City has largely focused on big ticket items like building levees, flood walls and berms and even the potential for a “Battery Park [...]
Suffolk County will see more buses on Sundays in the near future.
A week after the Public Works and Transportation Committee issued a ringing endorsement, the Suffolk County Legislature adopted an amended resolution that directs $1.1 million in unanticipated State Transportation Operating Assistance-included in the 2013-2014 New York State budget-towards expanding Sunday bus [...]