If Nassau Inter-County Express fares are hiked, Newsday is right to tie them to better service ["Invest fare hike in service," Editorial, Jan. 22]. Unfortunately, Nassau County and NICE officials have yet to commit to doing so, and if fares are raised, bus riders will simply be paying more for less service in 2013.
According to the federal government's National Transit Database, through November 2012, NICE provided approximately 9.5 percent fewer miles of service and 10.5 percent fewer hours of service than in 2011. These service reductions resulted in 4 percent fewer riders over the same time period and have led to overcrowding on many routes.
Any fare increase adopted by Nassau County, estimated to generate roughly $4 million, must be used to restore some of the $7.5 million in service cuts made by NICE last year as a result of underfunding. While Nassau's state elected officials, includng Sens. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) and Jack Martins (R-Mineola), have protected bus service by securing a state contribution of approximately $56 million, or 50 percent of total funding for the system, Nassau County must contribute more than $6.4 million. It is, after all, called Nassau Inter-County Express and not New York State Express.
Ryan Lynch, Manhattan
Editor's note: The writer is the associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit transportation policy watchdog.
Regarding NICE service, consider that Able-Ride provides shared transportation for people who are unable to travel to or from a bus stop. Able-Ride only provides trips that start and end within three-quarters of a mile of the bus stop, or fixed-route service, that is operating at the time the customer wishes to travel.
Disabled people who live outside the radius need this service as much as, if not more than, someone who lives within the radius.
Carole Schwartz, Jericho
It's certainly true that an increase in bus fare must go to an increase in bus service. However, a 25-cent fare increase at a time when service has worsened and routes have been cut is simply unjustifiable.
For working people who take the bus four times a day, this increase equals about $250 more a year for public transit. Would you keep your car insurance if they charged you $250 more and gave you less coverage? Unfortunately for bus riders, they don't have a choice.
Ana H. Giraldo, Hauppauge
Editor's note: The writer is an organizer with the Long Island Bus Riders Union, an advocacy organization.