Long Island Bus (Photo by Howard Schnapp /June 23, 2009)

Reasoning that it costs less to paint a bus one color than two, Long Island Bus maintenance teams will no longer paint the sides of buses with the blue stripe that is usually set on a white background. The blue stripe will remain, but instead will be applied in the form of a large vinyl decal.

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Joe Smith, chief of the MTA’s bus operations, said buses in New York City will get the same treatment. In total, the change is expected to save the MTA some $375,000 a year, according to LI Bus spokesman Jerry Mikorenda.

The MTA paints about 1,000 buses in its fleet a year and buys about another 500 buses each year that also get painted.

In addition to saving money, Smith said using the vinyl strip is more environmentally friendly than paint.

“From what I hear, you can’t tell the difference that much,” Mikorenda said.

Last year, Long Island Bus underwent another significant change involving paint, as the agency did away with its decades-old orange, white and blue color scheme in favor of a simpler white and blue scheme on all its new buses. Smith said the change not only saved money, but brought Long Island Bus in line with the color scheme used for years by other MTA buses.