NICE Bus is adding service on its 10 busiest routes starting Sunday and also making other minor changes to its schedule.
The changes include four additional eastbound trips in the evening on the N4 and four additional eastbound trips in the morning on the N6 -- NICE's busiest route. The N6X also is adding a stop in Elmont in response to high demand there.
"It's an effort to fix some chronic issues with crowds and running time," said Michael Setzer, chief operating officer for the Nassau Inter-County Express.
NICE is also changing the published arrival times on several lines to more accurately reflect how long it takes some buses to complete their trips, and to reduce late-arriving buses.
"Mostly likely, all they'll notice is slightly different times on the schedule," Setzer said.
Sunday's changes are the first of a three-phase plan to increase overall NICE service by 7.3 percent in 2013. In June, NICE will bring back the N87, which runs between Hicksville and Jones Beach, during the summer. The MTA, which previously operated Nassau's bus system, discontinued the route in 2010.
NICE will add more service to busy routes in September, for a total of 200 additional service hours systemwide. NICE is paying for the improvements with about $5 million in new state aid and $3 million in new fare revenue from the recent 25-cent increase on MetroCard customers.
Ana Giraldo, organizer with the Long Island Bus Riders Union, a nonprofit advocacy group, said she was thankful for the increased service but thinks NICE should also invest some of its new revenue in making buses more accessible for riders with disabilities.
A recent riders union report found that most buses do not have working audio and visual announcement systems.
"From what we have seen, they are trying to gain the trust of riders," Giraldo said. "But, still, there's a lot more changes that they have to do."
Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont), who has pushed for NICE improvements, said he was "pleased" that NICE has added service in Elmont, but agrees that more should be done to address riders' concerns, including safety issues at some bus stops. "All we ask is that service be improved," Solages said.