NCC Students Launch #NICEneedsNassau Twitter Campaign

Students and NCC's NYPIRG chapter want county to better fund bus system in this year's proposed budget.

NCC students with signs promoting the #NICEneedsNassau Twitter campaign.
NCC students with signs promoting the #NICEneedsNassau Twitter campaign.
Nassau Community College students and the college's chapter of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) have taken to Twitter to send a message to Nassau County officials - better fund your bus system in this year's proposed budget.

The #NICEneedsNassau campaign, which kicked off Oct. 17, hopes to convince legislators to amend County Executive Ed Mangano’s budget to provide more than a "20th century era-like $2.6 million" for the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus system, according to Brian Lupo, project coordinator for NYPIRG’s NCC chapter.

“The NICE bus system is a lifeline for students who are trying to move their way up the economic ladder,” Lupo said. “More funding will allow for increased service and for students to more easily access higher education.”

NYPIRG’s chapter spent the morning at campus bus stops speaking with students, roughly half of whom use the bus system to get to school, according to Lupo.

Hazey Perez, a NYPIRG intern and sophomore at NCC, said the system needs more support. “People from our age group are giving up car keys in record numbers and we are more interested in being connected than being in a car," she said. "The county must recognize that in order to meet the changing demographic needs of Nassau County residents."

A contract between the county and Veolia Transportation to manage and operate Long Island Bus under the new name – Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) – went into effect in January 2012. In the proposed 2014 county budget, $2.5 million is a required funding match for NICE bus service, which is composed of $1.9 million for fixed routes and $609,500 for the Able-Ride Paratransit routes.

In an attempt to improve service for the thousands of NCC students and employees that use the system, the n6X extension began making all stops on the NCC campus Sept. 1. Additional local service on the n6 was also added for weekdays, Saturday and Sundays. Further, the n45 and n51 routes currently serving NCC now make all stops in and around campus. Six different routes serve the community college. Buses make stops on campus approximately every five minutes during rush hour and every 10 minutes mid-day.

Lupo, however, said a NICE survey released last month found a 32 point drop in ridership satisfaction (61 percent to 29 percent) over the same time period in 2012. Ridership, according to the National Transit Database, through August 2013, has fallen by 5.2 percent since NICE took over operations in 2012, according to Lupo.

Requests for comment from the county executive's office were not returned.


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