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NICE Bus CEO Khzouz moving forward with new fare payment system

The NICE Bus will introduce technology on its

The NICE Bus will introduce technology on its buses next year for a new fare payment system. Credit: Barry Sloan

A new fare payment system is coming to Nassau buses, officials said.

The Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE Bus, said Thursday it will introduce technology on its buses next year that will allow customers to pay for their rides using the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new OMNY fare system.

OMNY — an acronym for One Metro New York — allows commuters to pay for transit trips using contactless credit, debit or reloadable prepaid cards, or digital wallets on smartphones or smartwatches.

The MTA already has begun using the new fare payment system at some subway stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and on its Staten Island bus routes, and has plans to incorporate it on other public transportation systems, including the Long Island Rail Road.

The new fare system eventually will replace the MTA's quarter-century-old MetroCard, which is also accepted by NICE Bus and used by about half of Nassau's bus riders.

At the Mineola meeting of the Nassau Bus Transit Committee on Thursday, NICE chief executive Jack Khzouz said that by late 2020, all Nassau buses will be equipped with OMNY sensors that riders can tap with their device to pay for a fare.

Khzouz said the new system will offer several benefits, including faster loading of passengers and more availability of OMNY cards at retailers in Nassau.

“You don’t have to worry about a MetroCard [vending] machine breaking down or not dispensing the card correctly. There’s no MetroCard ‘read errors,’ no more dipping your card and it not reading it,” Khzouz said. “We’re looking forward to this migration to the OMNY card.”

Khzouz said he expects NICE will accept both OMNY and the MetroCard for a few years, but the plan is to “slowly wean everybody off of the MetroCard and get everybody onto the OMNY system.”

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