Nassau names NICE bus advisory panel members

A rider boards a NICE buses at the

A rider boards a NICE buses at the Roosevelt Field bus depot. (Feb. 15, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas)

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A day after the private company that runs Nassau's bus system announced plans for service cuts, County Executive Edward Mangano released the names of residents selected to serve on a transit advisory committee.

The five members include an Elmont School District bus driver, a Morgan Stanley executive, a Hempstead Village trustee, a financial consultant and the operator of a private taxi service.

The county contract with Veolia Transportation, which began operating the county's buses on Jan. 1, calls for the Bus Transit Committee to hold two public hearings on proposed fare increases or route changes. The committee involvement was one reason that Democratic legislators said they voted with the Republican legislative majority to shift bus service from the MTA to Veolia.

However, the Veolia contract allows the company to eliminate five routes this year without triggering a public hearing, said Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury). The cuts "didn't come as a shock to me. Nonetheless, it seems a little tacky to be doing this when [the advisory committee] was just formed," she said. "Obviously we all are watching nervously what's going to go on from this point." Veolia has said it will not eliminate routes this time, only scale back service.

Mangano's office said the committee was formed by Feb. 15, as required by county law.

Mangano, who has authority to name three committee members, selected Jean Duroseau of Elmont, who is a bus driver for the Elmont School District and also an Elmont firefighter and emergency medical technician; Kathy Ann Comerford of Bethpage, a Morgan Stanley executive also recommended by Mangano in June to serve on the 12-member LIRR Commuter Council; and Lawrence W. Blessinger Jr. of Franklin Square, vice president of All Island Transportation and several other taxi and car services. The Republican majority, with authority to name one member, selected Sheldon Shrenkel of North Valley Stream, an independent financial consultant. Democrats named Livio Tony Rosario, a Hempstead Village trustee and a New York City bus driver. Ad hoc advocate for the disabled is Charles D. Hammerman, who heads The Disability Opportunity Fund.

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