Weekend bus service was slated to end Sunday for the N1 line in Hempstead Town but will instead operate on a scaled-back schedule, officials said Wednesday.
Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE, changed its mind after getting “positive indications” that bus subsidies would grow in the proposed state budget, said spokesman Andy Kraus.
NICE officials had proposed axing 10 bus routes, drastically scaling back service on another four and making smaller cuts on other lines because they faced a $6.8 million reduction in subsidies from Nassau County.
The reversal on N1 comes after Michael Setzer, NICE chief executive, last week said he expects to save three of the 10 bus routes if state and county officials come up with a rescue package.
N1 buses, which run between Elmont and Hewlett during weekends, will now start at 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays and run every 90 minutes instead of the current 6:30 a.m. start and buses every 60 minutes, Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Valley Stream) said Wednesday night in announcing the changes.
Solages said many of his constituents have no options other than the N1 bus. He said he personally got more than 50 calls in a week over the demise of weekend service and has been lobbying colleagues and County Executive Edward Mangano for months to find alternatives to the N1 cuts.
“People are taking the bus to work, not for leisure,” the lawmaker said.
Details on how much would have been saved through N1 cuts and how many riders would have been affected were not immediately available Wednesday night. Details on bus subsidy negotiations in Albany were also not available.
Solages said he and his staff were going to post flyers throughout the N1 route Thursday to let riders know that N1 weekend service is still alive. If people don’t know, he said, that could lead to lower ridership numbers, exposing N1 to future cuts.
“You’ve got to get the word out,” he said.