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NICE bus schedule changes to begin Sunday

A NICE bus at the Mineola depot in

A NICE bus at the Mineola depot in Mineola. (Dec. 26, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Service changes on most Nassau bus routes will start Sunday and range from better Long Island Rail Road connections to longer time between buses during off-peak hours.

Service will start in new areas, and more buses will be added on some existing routes. Some departure times will change and some routes will be restructured.

The schedule changes -- part of Nassau Inter-County Express' quarterly review and adjustment of schedules -- are designed to "improve overall system performance," said NICE spokesman Andrew Kraus. That means improving on-time performance, enhancing transfer coordination, responding to rider patterns and ensuring efficient operations, he said.

NICE's two express routes to and from Queens will gain new stops to provide additional capacity. The N6 Express will add a stop at Franklin Avenue/New Hyde Park Road and the N22 will add stops at New Hyde Park Road and the Mineola Intermodal service center.

Other changes include additional trips on the N4, and shorter intervals between buses on the N6 Local, the N19, N24 and N48/49. NICE will also provide additional trips between Hempstead and Nassau Community College on its N16 line during the school year.

More than a dozen bus routes will gain as much as 15 minutes in run times, a change NICE officials have said better reflects the actual time of a trip. Many routes will change departure times in order to better coordinate transfers, including with the LIRR. Nine routes will have service cut during off-peak hours. They include the N4, which will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the N35, which will run every hour between Hempstead and Westbury instead of every 30 minutes.

Charlene Obernauer, founder of the Long Island Bus Riders Union, an advocacy group, said since Nassau privatized its bus system a year ago, customers on routes with low ridership have been unfairly penalized. And she fears it will only get worse.

"Where does it end? At some point, is the ridership so low to them that they have to cut the entire route?" Obernauer said. "Everybody's paying the same taxes, so everybody should get some level of service."

Because none of the service changes will result in a reduction of service of 25 percent or more on any line, they do not require approval by Nassau's Transit Advisory Committee, which oversees the bus system. NICE chief executive Michael Setzer called them "fundamentally housekeeping changes."

For details about the changes, go to

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